This week Mike Emery, Product Manager at FLG Technology sat down to chat with us about customer-driven business growth and how being part of the Headspace Community has lent itself to collaboration.
How did you get into this industry?
My background is in project management. I used to deliver Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solutions to buildings like Central Library across the road. I’d previously worked with Andy Chadbourne (Commercial Director at FLG) for many years, so when the opportunity arose he put me in touch with FLG founder, John Jackson, and it was a natural segway from project management to product management. It’s quite different, but many elements are similar.
How would you define what you do?
I prioritise what we do and, more importantly, what we don’t do to our products. I do that by listening to our customers. We’re really driven by the feedback we get. We’ve got a lot of customers using our two products (FLG and Flow XO). My job is to try and listen to as many of those customers as I can. There are many ways of doing that, and by doing so we can hopefully increase customer engagement and sell to more customers.
Can you tell me about the FLG product?
It’s a complete Customer Engagement Platform, which allows companies to engage with a lot of customers. Its focus is business-to-consumer (B2C) rather than business-to-business as with many other CRM systems and similar platforms. If you’re part of a business handling sales leads in volume, you want to automate and track everything carefully to maximise the output. We help them do that.
Our other product, Flow XO, is all about workflows and ChatBots. A ChatBot is a modern way of engaging with customers by making people feel like they’re having a conversation with a person, yet making it clear they’re talking to a computer. It’s about doing things in bitesize pieces – the customer is answering each question one by one, rather than being hit with long questionnaire or form.
That must involve a lot of important work from programmers?
Exactly. FLG has two offices, with our head office in Padiham near Burnley, where the business started. The Padiham office is really our product office. We set up in Manchester because this is where all the talent is. As Chris from MyBuzz Technologies (Headspace Member) pointed out, you’re more likely to recruit good software engineers from a city centre location. We’ve got six great software developers here. This is where we decide what we’re gonna do, design it and develop it!
How has the business grown?
FLG has been around for around 11 years. Growth was very organic for about 10 of those. It’s a really well-established business that’s gradually grown. In the past 12 months, we have been more focused than ever on growth, hence the increased team size here. We’ve also engaged a proper sales and marketing function. What we hope to see now is faster growth over the next few years underpinned by a team who can deliver that. We’ve got a lot of happy customers, and a five-star TrustPilot rating to back this up, and we want to grow our business and have more happy customers!
Biggest thing you’ve learned?
What’s been very new for me is working within an entirely digital software space. In the 10 months I’ve been here, I’ve learned bucket loads about agile software development as I wasn’t as focused on digital products in previous roles. We try to follow modern development principles – we are customer driven and don’t plan too far ahead. We try to get features and products into our customers’ hands early to get feedback before we do too much. If it’s wrong we, “fail fast” and can change direction.
How does Headspace Manchester support your business?
It just gives us a really welcoming, creative space. We have to collaborate a lot in what we do, and this space allows us to do that. We use the Co-lab space quite a lot to brainstorm and get out of our office. I think everything about the space – the fact it’s light, it’s bright, there’s a good vibe to it, there are people around – creates a modern way of collaborating, and it really reflects the modern focus of the business. The location is also great with so much on our doorstep.
Thanks to Mike Emery for sharing his experience with us. If you’d like to learn more about FLG and their products, contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org