IrisCX: How This Enterprise-Level Video Company Is Improving The Home Improvement ExperienceIrisCX is a company that changes the way home product companies visually connect with customers to help them choose, set up, and support products in the home. To learn more about the company, Pulse 2.0 interviewed Guillermo Salazar, CEO and co-founder of IrisCX.Guillermo Salazar’s BackgroundSalazar has over 22 years of experience as a data and analytics professional and he helps customers articulate their challenges so they can better understand their alternatives. And Salazar believes people and technology should operate seamlessly together to “build bridges, not moats.” Plus Salazar is a three-time founder, trilingual, and lives in Alberta, Canada. Salazar also pointed out that he is a lucky husband and dad of three (plus a wheaten terrier), a below-average golfer, and an above-average skier.Idea Behind IrisCXThe idea behind IrisCX was born when a series of seemingly random events and touchpoints happened. And in August 2018, Salazar’s garage door opener failed. So Salazar called in a technician to inspect it and the tech charged him $150 for the trip, told him that a new garage door opener was needed, and he was quoted about $1,000 for a new unit and installation.Annoyed by the reality that Salazar paid the technician $150 to come to his house and quote him over $1,000+ for some work, he started to investigate. Then Salazar learned that the opener still had a warranty left on it so he reached out to the Lift Master call center. A technician and Salazar talked on the phone for over an hour and figured out that the control board had failed and determined they would send him a new one.Around the same time, Salazar met Luke Krueger. Little did they know that they would be co-founding IrisCX together. Salazar talked about the garage door opener experience with Krueger, who had a similar experience with a modem. Both of them marveled at how the diagnostics around these issues would be so much simpler if the technician could see what they were looking at rather than have them try to explain it. The key points for the design and target customer experience were that it would be all cloud-based, the core features would not need an app, and it needed to include augmented reality so the agent could draw and pull objects into the customer’s field of view.Core ProductsIrisCX is an end-to-end video platform designed to put the customer first and provide a more human customer experience. It enables visual, on-demand, intimate interactions that come from virtually “being there” with your customer, making relationships the goal instead of company-centric KPIs. With IrisCX, brands can finally deliver the interactions customers want, at scale. It’s a fundamental shift in customer engagement—how you sell and how you provide support. Without downloading any software or app, customers can use intelligent video to discover “best fit” products, self-assess and solve issues, and schedule virtual appointments on their own terms, according to their own schedule and convenience.“For years, business gurus have preached the importance of “the customer experience.” To improve it, companies have invested billions in call centers, online chat, customer service bots, and enterprise software solutions—all meant to help garner the love and loyalty of consumers, along with the purchases and revenue that result,” said Salazar. “Unfortunately, most consumers still think service is generally unsatisfying, annoying, or worse. According to professional services firm PwC, consumers long for a more human experience, where they’re treated like a person rather than a sales target or an anonymous stranger. IrixCX enables more human and empathetic customer experiences.”Evolution Of IrisCX’s TechnologyIrisCX integrates with enterprise software solutions, databases, and scheduling software. And agents are able to launch virtual sessions right in your CRM. With every interaction, the company’s AI backbone captures and analyzes even unstructured video data. And when the team went to market with their first MVP product, they were providing secure video, capturing preliminary data such as time spent on the call and miles saved from sending a technician onsite to help customers.From there, IrisCX evolved from a support solution to offering a full, end-to-end customer experience solution, from pre-sales to post. The current solution takes the data from virtual sessions to let your team see the work completed on a customer account in one place, review previous sessions, and view context-driven insights into customer sentiment, intent, behavior, and satisfaction. Plus it continuously improves results as additional data is collected and analyzed, giving you an ever-expanding, more cohesive understanding of your customers. The resulting data is also used for automating CX workflows and continuously improving CX processes. All of the data is protected through ISO- and GDPR-compliant security and privacy, which is critical for customer trust.Biggest MilestonesThese are some of the biggest milestones that the company has seen:— In Sept. 2019, the company signed its first major customer, one of North America’s largest home builders.— In March 2021, Google for Startups selected IrisCX for their accelerator program.— Heron Rock Fund, Forum Ventures, and private investors provided a $1.7 million pre-seed round in June 2021. And Forum Ventures also selected IrisCX to participate in their accelerator program.— In July 2022 Stage 2 Capital selected IrisCX to participate in its accelerator program and also invested.— Sept 6, 2022 – IrisCX made the strategic decision to rebrand from ICwhatUC to IrisCX and orient the product vision and go-to-market motion on the bigger and more urgent pain felt when trying to buy home products. And IrisCX also supports those purchases with a solid post-sales experience, unifying the customer experience on a single, modern platform built around the end customers’ desires and needs.— December 2022 – $4.6 million seed funding round closed with Arthur Ventures.Customer Success StoriesWhen I asked Salazar about a customer success story, he cited a large paint manufacturer with revenues of over $1.5 billion annually.“We started working with our client on a program to provide virtual design consultations for DIY customers. Using the IrisCX platform, design experts work with consumers who have residential paint projects they want assistance with,” Salazar explained. “This pre-sales consultation allows consumers to ask questions about color, techniques, and materials, and get expert advice before embarking on their project. As a result, our client has achieved CSAT scores that are 29% higher than the industry average, and they are seeing coupon redemption rates increase elevenfold over the usual benchmark of 1%. The client has rolled the program out nationally and has expanded it to include pre-sales consultations for their professional painter network.”FundingIrisCX just closed a $4.6 million USD seed funding round, which brings IrisCX’s total funding to $6.8 million. This includes:— $680K CAD,— A $1.7 million pre-seed round in June 2021 from Heron Rock Fund, Forum Ventures— Investment from Stage 2 Capital and being selected for its accelerator program in July 2022.Total Addressable MarketWhat is the total addressable market (TAM) size that IrisCX is pursuing? IrisCX has been seeing predictable and repeatable traction with home product and service companies. And the total addressable market of US home product and services companies is $1.4 trillion.Differentiation From The CompetitionWhat differentiates IrisCX from the competition? Salazar pointed out that engagement means creating a deeper connection with customers about the products and programs that are relevant to them. Engagement builds trust.“Providing visual intelligence that pairs what you see and hear with what you need to do next while reinforcing your brand at every step of the way. IrisCX gives you the ability to treat customers empathetically, respectfully, and at their convenience, in the way they choose. It lets you deliver a more human customer experience that is more likely to make a customer happy and generate the loyalty that leads to future sales,” Salazar reflected.“IrisCX allows businesses to increase their customer satisfaction score (CSAT) by 50%, remote resolution rate by 63%, and resolution of issues in 12 minutes.”Future Company GoalsWhat are IrisCX’s future company goals?“IrisCX will use the seed funding to add new capabilities to the platform and hire more people to drive growth. The company will also invest in executing its go-to-market plan which targets home product and services companies with large operations in the US and Canada,” Salazar concluded. “Iris will be the world’s at-scale selling machine. Iris will be the way the world enjoys amazing product experiences from first set-up to loyalty support. Companies will be able to convert online shoppers into buyers at the moment of intent and match them with the right product at the right price. They will be able to convert brand skeptics into brand advocates at the critical moment of doubt, establishing hero brand status, loyalty, and trust. Companies can stop guessing why customers buy, or don’t buy; what their timelines are, what brands they have considered, and all the other constraints that go into these infrequent experiences, and they will have the data to prove it.”You can also read the article on Pulse 2.0.
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