PODCASTS

The Road To Crafting Customer Success

The Road To Crafting Customer Success

Graham interviews Concora’s Customer Success Manager, Geoffrey Cooper. Geoffrey takes us through his humble beginnings in North Carolina as the son an armed forces member, his study of journalism in college and how it all led to becoming a customer success manager for Concora.

Geoffrey then details his day to day operations and how he keeps our customers happy and always wanting more from Concora.

 

 


 

Podcast Participants:

Graham Waldrop: Product Director Concora
Geoffrey Cooper: Customer Success Program Manager Concora

 

Graham:

All right. Hello and welcome to Concora Corner: Meet the Company. This is sort of a little spin-off of our main podcast, Concora Corner. This is dedicated to interviewing the folks that comprise our company. So, once again, I’m Graham Waldrop, your host. I’m one of the directors of product here at Concora. And today, we’ll be interviewing Geoffrey Cooper, our customer success program manager. Geoffrey, welcome to the show, sir. How are you doing?

 

Geoffrey:

I’m doing well. Thanks, Graham, for having me.

 

Graham:

Absolutely. Sort of just interested in your background. I know we’ve had some fun discussions briefly about sort of your love for the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets.

 

Geoffrey:

Oh, you had to bring them up, right?

 

Graham:

Yeah. Right. So, this isn’t just going to be about Concora. We’ll get a little more into who you like as a sports fan and other things like that. So, does your fandom stem from being from North Carolina? Where’d you grow up exactly?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah, very much so. Been a diehard Panthers and Hornets fan pretty much whole life. We’ve seen the highs and lows of both organizations. And kind of right now, we’re in some lows.

But for the Hornet side, with LaMelo Ball and we got Hayward, he’s picking up, really earning his contract, I’m interested. I’m interested to see what they’ll do know. Young team. And hopefully, they’ll make a splash in the Southeast. Definitely contend against Atlanta and a couple other big teams in the Eastern Conference.

And then Panther side. A lot of painful transition, as always. But in NFC South, so always a tough conference. So, yeah. We just, we got to work through the motions. New head coach. New GM. Probably looking at another QB the next season. So, we’ll see. I’m hoping for the best.

 

Graham:

Yeah. As a Falcons and Hawks fan, I feel your pain there. We’re definitely going through some-

 

Geoffrey:

Well, you guys got a gem, I mean, because you got a pretty good GM that just came over from… I think from the Saints.

 

Graham:

Yeah. Terry Fontenot. I’m very excited to see what he does, as well as our new coach, Arthur Smith, from the Titans. And then on the Hawks side, I’m a big fan of Trae Young, even though he’s kind of had a bit of a up-and-down season, but-

 

Geoffrey:

Oh yeah. That guy’s going to be a force in the league. I mean, his ball-handling, his vision and just abilities to make shots anywhere on the court. I mean, it’s crazy. So, yeah.

 

Graham:

Yeah. So, where in North Carolina did you grow up?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. It’s funny because it’s like I have a military background. Well, my dad was in the Air Force for, gosh, about 35 years. And so, we lived everywhere. I was born in Tampa, Florida; and then we moved to San Antonio, suburbs; and then to D.C; and then about mid-90s we moved to Eastern North Carolina.

I grew up in a town called Rocky Mount, North Carolina. And actually, the governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, no relation, he’s from there. Phil Ford. Jim Thorpe, who’s a renowned Olympian. Thelonious Monk, famed jazz musician. They’re all from Rocky Mount. So, yeah. They coin it the gateway to the triangle. So, yeah. I went there for high school. And then took a trip on 40. Went to school at North Carolina Central University, an historically black college in the triangle area of North Carolina.

 

Graham:

So, that Rocky Mount’s kind of near… when you say the triangle, is that referring to the triad, the Piedmont Triad?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah, yeah. People from Carolina, North Carolina, we dub it as the triangle because a triangle. It’s like Raleigh up here, Durham over here and Chapel Hill. So, all three of them connect into a triangle in a sense.

 

Graham:

Okay. So, that triangle. Because I was thinking about the triad, which for me, because I went to school in Winston-Salem. So, you had Winston-Salem, High Point, Greensboro.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah, yeah. You’re right, you’re right. That’s a little further west on 40, but yeah, the triangles… we coin it typically Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh areas.

 

Graham:

Yeah. I’ve always liked North Carolina a lot. My mom grew up there. I have a lot of family up there. My mom actually lives there now.

 

Geoffrey:

What part of the state?

 

Graham:

My mom was born in Fayetteville and then she lived in Charlotte for a while. And I have a lot of family in Charlotte still. And she actually moved to Topsail Beach recently on the coast, near Wilmington.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. I have family in Charlotte. I’ve got some fam throughout Durham. My brother, he’s a police officer in Durham and his wife and boys and his baby girl just had a baby not too long ago. They all live in Durham. So, yeah. It’s grown a lot. Actually, I take trips back and I’m just so amazed at… I go to some of my old stomping grounds in Durham, like on 9th Street, Greer, Fayetteville Street, and it’s just, it’s grown so much. I’m just amazed. And Raleigh too. And yeah, it’s weird to hear people say they actually want to move to North Carolina, move to the triangle area. It’s like, I don’t know, I get it, but it’s just, it’s always weird just to hear that.

 

Graham:

Yeah. I think North Carolina’s come a long way, I think, over the years. And I think it’s one of the more interesting states to live in in terms of what it gives you. Kind of like Georgia in the sense that you can have mountains, beaches, cities.

 

Geoffrey:

Absolutely. Yeah.

 

Graham:

I love the diversity of both states, with the people and also just the different geographical locations.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. Absolutely. Not to mention the food’s awesome too.

 

Graham:

Yeah. For sure. So, you said you went to North Carolina Central, right?

 

Geoffrey:

That’s correct. Yeah. It’s a historically black college that’s in Durham, North Carolina. Huge pillar of the Durham community. And it’s taught me a lot in terms of just culture, roots of North Carolina and specifically black history in a sense that Durham was a huge hub for black entrepreneurs in banking, agriculture, technology. And you walk around some of the areas of Durham and you can still see a lot of different footprints and remnants of that.

And so, being a part of that institution and learning, I have a lot of great mentors and faculty that really instilled in me a lot of the mindset that I have today in my professional career, everything about working hard, of course, really not taking no for answers and really being… what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s just inquisitive about your environments. And I’m fortunate for that experience and the friends and the people I met along that way because they still encourage me in what I do in my everyday work with Concora.

 

Graham:

That sounds like a great place. And would you say that there was one mentor in particular or a specific event or something like that or a specific year that kind of inspired you particularly down sort of the path you’ve gone down now?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. I got a few. I mean, there’s a guy that I was working on my student newspaper in college and it was called the Campus Echo. I started as a reporter, then an editor-in-chief of the paper. And his name’s Dr. Bruce dePyssler. Scraggly-haired guy. And he used to always talk about his golf swing, which is horrible by the way. But he was one of these professors, he really took the time to give me great insights into just building out a career, the things, the steps that I needed to take and really giving me a lot of great counsel as I grew into my career. And so, I don’t know if you knew this, Graham, but I started out in my career as a journalist. I saw-

 

Graham:

I didn’t know that. Cool.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah, yeah. It’s weird, how 10 years, things change over time. And so, when I graduated from college, I had some internships with The New York Times, with a few other local newspapers in North Carolina and even my hometown newspaper. And I also saw that film, All the President’s Men. Yeah. By, I think, it was Pakula. And it had, of course, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman. And that was one of the… those two guys taking down a presidency, a corrupt presidency like Lincoln… I mean, it’s not Lincoln, I’m sorry. Nixon. It encouraged me to really hone in on the ideas of truth-telling, gathering details, gathering facts, and bringing news and information to the masses. And so, yeah. Started out as a journalist.

And my professor, Dr. dePyssler, he helped me a lot with just those ideas and really working on my writing, communication, organizing, putting great thoughts on paper and really just building out how to build out that career path. And as I grew and I transitioned from journalism into digital marketing and later on corporate communications, we still stayed in touch and he gave me a lot of great ideas and feedback on just on career trajectory and how to really maintain that high level of performance. Just him being in the industry for a very long time and academia and, yeah. I’m very fortunate to have guys like that to still be able to call friends and mentors.

 

Graham:

I think that’s great in terms of being… and it’s rare, I think, for a lot of people to be able to have a professor that makes a huge impact on you and also be able to still communicate with that person, still get advice from that person, what, 10, 15, 20 years later, is incredible. So, hats off to you for building that relationship. What caused sort of the transition to this field, as opposed to continuing down the journalistic track?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. So, my first job out of college was with my hometown newspaper. It was called the Rocky Mount Telegram. They have an industry term called being a cub reporter. So, it’s like your first job out of college, you’re covering pumpkin festivals and everything from that to car chases and fires and homicides. And then I moved up to covering state capitol, state politics, some national topics as well. And this was around about 2009, 2011.

And I took a step back at where the industry was going as far, as print and the digital conversion, and I knew that I wanted to do a little bit more in terms of understanding the business side of media. So, I wanted to always… it intrigued me about what keeps the lights on. And that was really the digital marketing and the advertising side of things. And so, I garnered some opportunities when I was in graduate school to really pick up some more education on that and ended up spinning into a new opportunity with a company I worked… they’re actually based out of Atlanta, Cox Media Group. I went to San Antonio and worked as a digital marketing consultant for advertising reps, radio advertising reps and helping them build integrated marketing, digital marketing packages for their clients and working in consulting there. And that’s kind of where that all grew.

 

It’s just basically wanting to learn, to be more multifaceted. So, I had the content creation side of things down. I just wanted to get more of the business and the marketing and advertising aspect under my belt. And so, that’s the pathway I’ve been on now for about going on six years.

 

Graham:

That’s cool. I’m sure a lot of what you learned, the journalistic side, has helped today with what you do now.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. Absolutely. I would say attention to detail, listening, being able to convey complex thoughts into simple terms for your client. I spend a lot of time every week with install clients and deployments. And there’s a lot of complex terms and alphabet soup and different things that you’re having to break down for them. And so, those practices of taking large buckets of information and making it simple for them to consume, it helps move the process along much easier. So, I’m fortunate for that, for having that past.

 

Graham:

Yeah. I think that’s good training for how many… well, I wouldn’t say hats, but just in terms of the amount of customers you have to juggle. I’m sure the amount of hats you have to wear in terms of where you are in different processes in terms of dealing with customers who are coming on board for the first time, or talking with folks that are veteran customers that have been with us for a minute, or potentially talking with prospects and dealing with sales and product and all the crazy stuff that we do on our side of the building. Can you sort of take us through kind of more in depth into your role with Concora?

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. So, I currently serve as a program manager for the organization. A lot of my time is split between deployments. And so, when sales, they capture the approval to move forward, we’re forming a business relationship, I’m right there at the very early beginning, the very early beginnings of the business relationship to start forming requirements, discover their current business processes and help them build out their digital experience, the product selection experience, through our platform technology.

And that’s critical, Graham, because we’re there, like I mentioned, from the very beginning advising, consulting on the best practices, the best industry practices, giving them that navigation of the best path to travel down when it comes to building out a product selection experience that’s going to be lean, efficient for their AECs. And also, with that, I work a lot with our legacy customers as well too to advise, consult on their metrics, the performance that they’re experiencing in their platforms to really understand how we’re helping them transform their… or excuse me, achieve their business objectives and we’re transforming processes as well too.

 

And I think that’s critical because, as we’ve seen, COVID is not going to subside anytime soon. We have a ways to go. And there’s a lot of BPMs out there that are having to adapt to this landscape in a way, where they may have traveled to trade shows, or they may have done on-site calls or they may have done lunch-and-learns. They’re having to find a multitude of ways to transform their current marketing and sales tactics. And so, having a technology piece like the digital experience platform in their stack, I think that that gives a much in depth level of context for marketing and sales teams to be able to take that next step and have an engaging and rich conversation with their AEC community.

 

Graham:

Yeah. And I think that’s one of the things that I’ve been impressed with in terms of sort of this new era for a company since COVID, has been just how the customers are really responding with their enthusiasm for the platform. Not to say that they weren’t beforehand, but I think all the things you brought up in terms of being able to go to conferences, lunch-and-learns, et cetera. Like Cherokee Brick, I was talking with Kip on our last episode, and one of the things that Sonya, who we talked to over there, was saying primarily they did business actually going in person to talking with AECs, architects, engineers, contractors. And that’s just not an option anymore.

And so, I think one of the great things about what we’re trying to do is make sure that that business, that online business, is one, it was going that way anyway, but to really make sure that that can work as effectively, if not more effectively, and we hope more effectively because you can do business faster as opposed to having travel places with a DXP. And I think that the work that you and Joanna are doing over there is so important to any of the success that we’ve had for sure.

 

Geoffrey:

Yeah. I certainly agree with you, Graham. And yeah, you made a great point that it’s been going that way, digital. I mean, and when we look at BPMs, we’ve done a lot of surveying in the marketplace and we understand that there’s a lot of gaps that BPMs and the websites may have, and that the different offerings that they provide when it comes to product, selection, experience, it’s not always efficient in the sense that a PIM or a DAM or CMS may not be able to provide that level of context to have a more influential conversation with that particular lead. And so, if you’re able to not only centralize all of that content, all of that data that’s associated with your products and be able to capture analytics and activity around what… and find out what that pathway for that particular lead is, I say that’s a great weapon and a great tool to have in your arsenal.

It just goes back to my foundation as a marketer. What can we do? What can we provide to the marketplace that’s going to make their purchasing or their product selection much more seamless? And I think that this tool that we’ve innovated or the innovations we’re putting into this platform, it’s just going to continue to ease the burden for BPMs as they wade through this time we’re in with COVID.

 

Graham:

Yeah, for sure. And Geoffrey, I’d love to talk to you some more, but I know you’ve got a meeting coming up that you need to get… back to your real job as opposed to talking to me.

Geoffrey:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Graham:

So, I really appreciate you stopping by to talk with me today. I hope we can do it again because that was really fun.

 

Geoffrey:

Thanks a lot, Graham. I appreciate the opportunity. And hopefully, next time we talk, we’ll have some better news to talk about our Hornets and Hawks, I guess.

 

Graham:

Yeah. Well, I hope that next time, we don’t get… I know the first two games we played against y’all, y’all swept us. So, I hope we can even the score. I think we play four times this year, so hopefully we can get those next two back from you.

 

Geoffrey:

I got my fingers and toes crossed. Thanks, Graham. Appreciate the time.

 

Graham:

Thanks, Geoffrey.

All right, folks that wraps us up for today’s show. I want to thank Geoffrey again for stopping by to talk with me today. So, you can find our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify and SoundCloud by searching for “The Concora Corner.” And if you’d like to, we’d love a rating and a short review if you listen on Apple. Any feedback is appreciated on any of our shows that are coming out or just the show in general or if you just want to say hello. You can find out more about Concora and our services at www.concora.com. We’re on Facebook at facebook.com/concorallc. We are on Twitter at @concora and you can find us on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/concora. Thank you for listening and have a great day.

Concora is the Web Experience Platform for Building Product Manufacturers.