September 05 2014

Why VC Leaders Should Spend Quality Time With Startups

10524633_819698854728691_303193714296912525_nRecently I spent a few hours in the Bellhops call center, and I learned a whole lot about their business. I answered calls, responded back to customer emails and worked on their customer chat system which is basically like a virtual call center in it’s own.

I offered to help in their call center because I know this is their busy season, they need the extra hands. I also wanted to see what their business is like. I thought that as Director of Operations I knew a lot about the startups in the Lamp Post Group family, but now I have a much better understanding of Bellhops from my time with them.

It was a blast working with Nathan and his team – they are super sharp guys!

Here’s what I took away from the experience:

The Bellhops call center is juggling MANY balls at once. I worked in their call center from 8am to 10am, and honestly, expected to have nothing to do. By 8:20 a.m., Nathan and the team were trying to translate a call from a guy in Mexico, who didn’t know a single bit of English, while other calls are coming in and chat messages are popping up from people requesting moves for that day. It was incredibly impressive how they managed to multi-task and keep great customer service all at once.

Bellhops really loves their customers. I have worked in customer service environments in the past where staff complained non-stop about their customers. That always made me wonder what they were doing in that field, because if you don’t like the customers, why have the job? But in the Bellhops call center not once did I hear a word of frustration, annoyance or anger come out of their mouths. And when a customer needed to cancel her order due to a moving mishap, they were completely gracious about it and gave a full refund – no questions asked. Once again, I was very impressed.

I believe that Lamp Post Group is here to provide guidance and resources for the startups we invest in, the same way that Bellhops provides great service to their customers. Until we understand their business as well as they do, we may not be able to give them all that they need.

I challenge other leaders in venture capital and entrepreneurship to really spend time with affiliated startups. You can help make their workload a little easier and gain a deeper understanding of their day to day. Until you know their pain points and strengths you don’t know where they need the most support, and how to help them gain the greatest amount of success.

 -Tiffanie Robinson