Ada Support

Q&A With Mike Murchison: Ada’s Co-Founder & CEO

Sarah Fox
Content Producer

February is the beginning of a new fiscal year at Ada. It’s a time for pause and reflection on many achievements: five years in a row of 100% year-over-year growth, a winner of G2’s 2022 Software Awards for Analytics & AI Products, ranking as one of Great Place To Work®’s 2022 Best Workplaces™ - Startups , and so much more.

It’s also the time to bring fresh ideas to the table, reestablish our goals, and renew our commitment to being the go-to brand interaction platform for the modern enterprise.

The past year has been our best yet, but the potential to transform how brands interact with the people they care about — from customers to employees — is driving us to continue building with purpose. To find new ways to provide value to our clients and make Ada a household name for brands and the people who love them.

But first (and excuse our nostalgia here) a look back at where it all started. Ada was founded on the first-hand experience of our founders, Mike Murchison and David Hariri. As customer support agents, the two came to a life-changing realization: with the rising tide of customers approaching brands each day, they can’t help but fault them right when it matters most. Because the moment customers actually try to talk to a brand — at that magical moment of interaction — the experience completely falls apart.

And so they were off on a mission: to repair broken brand interactions and restore the customer experience.

We decided it’s time to share a bit more about one of the visionary minds behind the machine — our Co-Founder and CEO Mike Murchison. Mike is a company-building aficionado. He never shies away from a learning opportunity, and he’s a fierce competitor in the space of AI and the customer experience (and Mario Tennis evidently, where he ranks in the top 50 players).

We sat down with Mike to get some juicy insights on a tech leaders’ recipe for success, and why he believes the customer experience has never been more important than it is today.

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A: Like many Canadian kids, I wanted to be an NHL player. I was most inspired by Mario Lemieux, who played through considerable adversity but always made everyone around him better. Today, I continue to believe that one of the most important qualities of a leader is their ability to make those around them better.

Q: What inspired you to build a tech startup?

A: I’m most motivated by learning, and I’ve long associated the difficulty of a problem with the afforded learning opportunity. I couldn’t think of anything harder to achieve for myself than willing a company into existence. I fell in love with company-building at a young age as it continued to be a learning vehicle.

Q: What do leaders at startups experiencing hyper growth need to keep in mind?

A: The conventional customer experience playbook is outdated. It results in most brands pursuing a strategy of interacting with their customers less as their companies grow. But leaders of the next generation of companies have the opportunity to offer a far better customer experience by turning this strategy upside down — by interacting with their customers more as they grow. Craving, and not avoiding, customer interactions will usher in a new customer experience standard that results in VIP experiences being commonplace, and brands who hold on to the old playbook being forgotten. 

Q: What's one way tech leaders can ensure their team's work remains aligned with overall business goals?

A: They pursue a strategy of treating business goals like internet memes. What do I mean by that? The business goal needs to be something that is repeatable, simple, and easy for everyone to understand. So much so that there is almost a virality to it. It needs to be able to travel naturally, like a meme, through the company. And if it’s effective in doing that, it reduces the likelihood of folks working on things other than those top priorities.

A meme is very helpful for me when I think about the clarity that is needed in a goal and the communication strategy that should be associated with it.

Q: Why is the customer experience so important? And why should brands be prioritizing this?

A: Customer experience has never been more important than now. And most brands are pursuing the wrong strategy when it comes to their customer experience. They are pursuing a strategy of speaking less to their customers as they get bigger, and as a result, they’re leaving their customers behind.

The brands that win are the brands that talk to their customers more as they scale. They are unlocking the most differentiated and exciting customer experiences that delight you and I as consumers. Because if they don’t do this, they will fall behind. The experience that they will offer will be rejected overtime.

A perfect customer experience in my opinion is personalized, proactive and empowering. It’s personalized, meaning the brand understands who I am. Their engagement with me is reflective of, and builds on, my actual relationship with them over time.

It’s proactive, in that I rarely have to explain my problem. The brand is intelligent enough to understand that I have a problem and reaches out in a personalized timely manner to correct it.

It’s empowering in the sense that the brand recognizes that my time is more important than theirs. The brands of the future operate on the customer’s schedule — they don’t force customers to operate on theirs. It empowers their customers to communicate whenever, wherever, and in any language. The brands of the future are accommodating on all of the above and that’s what empowerment means.