A Conversation with Harte Hanks Inc.

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Today, we are talking with Ben Chacko, who is the Managing Director of Customer Care at Harte Hanks Inc. He gives us insight into the company and its recent acquisition of InsideOut.

Q: Tell us a little bit about Harte Hanks Inc.

Harte Hanks is a global marketing services company that has been in the business of helping brands acquire and retain customers for 100 years. We’ve seen and evolved with it all – from newspapers, television, and radio stations to today’s highly complex marketing technology and data-driven ecosystems. But, of course, marketing fundamentals never change. How do you convince customers to choose your brand, enjoy the experience with your brand, and ultimately tell others about your brand? But the tactical execution of marketing changes daily. That’s where we help guide our customers on what we see working in the marketplace.

We call ourselves the customer company because, operationally and experientially, we work with customers at every step in their journey. For example, the Marketing Services team drives awareness, consideration, and purchase through strategy, data and analytics, creative services, and marketing technology. The Customer Care team ensures service and loyalty with a full suite of CX support. And our Fulfillment and Logistics team puts the brand into hands supporting direct mail, surprise-and-delight door openers, and new customer onboarding. We know what works at each stage of the customer journey because we do the work every day.

Q: With InsideOut joining the Harte Hanks team, how does this change what Harte Hanks provides? What does this mean for customers?

With the acquisition of InsideOut and its inside sales capabilities, Harte Hanks is uniquely positioned to help customers drive growth by optimizing sales and marketing demand generation programs Harte Hanks now has inside sales capabilities.

We can truly provide end-to-end sales services. This means driving leads for customers and using the expertise and experience of a talented sales team to close the sale. InsideOut has worked with some of the world’s largest corporations – Google, IBM, T-Mobile, and Honeywell.

Q: Give us some background on Brian Linscott, the CEO of Harte Hanks.

Brian is a visionary leader who has orchestrated a tremendous financial turnaround for this company. In 2018, we had a large infrastructure and high fixed costs. Brian has challenged us to operate with the adaptability and innovation of a start-up. As a result, we now have an asset-light business model and a largely remote organization. These have given us the cash to invest in sales, marketing, technology, and partnerships for sustainable growth.

Brian’s background is in finance. But, his passion for process improvement has driven innovation and allowed us to create new solutions for customers.

Q: What is the mission of Harte Hanks to its customers, staff, etc., and has it changed over the years?

Our mission is to work in service of our clients. We work to provide meticulous expertise and execution to better understand, attract and engage their customers. We are one of the few companies that offer end-to-end services, from marketing to sales to fulfillment and product support.

Q: How do you see the company growing in the future, especially in relation to this acquisition?

We are focused on expanding our capabilities to better compete in the global marketplace and leverage our cross-segment capabilities. With the acquisition of InsideOut, we are one of the few end-end-end sales enablement organizations. The team at InsideOut is incredibly impressive. Their team understands the different approaches required for the engagement of buyers.

Q: What else would you like us to know?

As a boutique player with large-scale capabilities, our Customer Care team can seamlessly function as an extension of our clients’ teams with the technology, processes, and resources to quickly scale. Our clients get all the benefits of a larger organization combined with an agile and entrepreneurial mentality. We pride ourselves on making it happen.

 

Ben is the Managing Director of Customer Care for Harte Hanks. The division focuses on helping brands win the hearts and minds of customers through top-notch customer service and experiences delivered by people and technology.

Ben oversees a team of 2,000+ customer care and inbound/outbound sales professionals who provide full CX support. His team also offers a full suite of CX consulting services driven by data and analytics to support client business transformation efforts. This includes CRM system customization and integration and self-service help center configuration.

Ben additionally has over two decades of experience leading customer care efforts for clients, including Microsoft, Samsung Electronics, HBO Max, Sonic, and Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP, and implementing and running large-scale multi-shore customer care programs. He is based in Austin, Texas.

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