Fifteen years ago Rich Baker started Glance Networks, a standard screen-sharing product. At the time it was a relatively new and innovative solution for virtual meetings and customer service. Today, though, basic screen sharing products are a dime a dozen. That’s why, in 2013, Baker refocused his bootstrapped company and brought in a new CEO, Thomas Martin, to run the show.
Prior to joining Glance, Martin, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire native, had a successful fourteen-year career with Verizon spanning multiple roles including sales, corporate strategy, product management and partnerships. While exploring a move into the world of growth-stage companies, Martin was introduced to Baker through a mutual friend, who was an employee of Glance.
“We hit it off right away. Rich was looking for someone to take the company in a new direction and really focus on the customer experience. It was exactly the opportunity I was looking for.”
In the nearly three years since Martin has been on board, Glance Networks has seen a massive transformation; from the team (just added the 20th employee under Martin) to the technology, much has changed.
“We immediately started looking at the buying experience and how we could bring visual engagement to the online world. Then we shifted entirely to an enterprise model and rebuilt our technology.”
Today, Glance Networks’ partners include the likes of Salesforce, LiveOps, SAP and Zendesk, and those who use their solutions include American Airlines and Waltham-based Constant Contact. These companies, like any who have a customer support center, need a solution that works every time across every platform. Glance is providing that.
“Since day one when Rich started the business he’s had one manta, ‘our solution has to work every time and across all devices.’ We’ve maintained that mantra,” Martin told me inside the company’s Arlington headquarters, where you can find shelves full of various computers on which the internal QA team runs its testing.
THE BEST PRODUCT IN THE COBROWSE SPACE
Before the Internet, commerce happened face-to-face. It was simple, collaborative and visual as we could see and show what we needed. Now, we communicate from behind screens – computers, mobile devices and tablets. Glance Networks is bringing visual engagement to that world.
The company’s offerings enable businesses to transform customers from frustrated to empowered by utilizing integrated solutions to allow customers and agents to collaborate online. The Glance Panorama platform allows sales and service employees to move seamlessly from cobrowsing to screen sharing to agent video as they engage customers throughout their lifecycle.
For example, if you were looking to book a trip on American Airlines and called their support center for assistance, you would simply click “Cobrowse” at the bottom of the page and provide the agent the code. From here, the agent would be able to access your screen and walk you through the booking process.
Glance is priced as low as $149 per user per month depending on the package. In some cases, the company is brought in to educate clients on the movement within the industry and best practices in addition to helping them understand how to incorporate cobrowsing and screen sharing in their contact centers. While the software is easy to implement and the product easy to use, it’s the concept and practice that is new to many of these enterprise partners of Glance.
“These days people want to accomplish tasks on their own. When they need help, however, it has to be quick, simple and effective,” Martin said.
It’s true. Think about how flawed and archaic customer service can be these days. Take your cable and Internet provider, for example. On-demand isn’t working, Wi-Fi connection is choppy – try getting through to Comcast and seeing a resolution quickly. The experience in many cases is so poor, in fact, that it actually serves as a deterrent to even seek out customer service.
Another example, one that you can see Glance’s product adding significant value for both business and consumer, is eCommerce. Once engaged with a customer, the agent can highlight specific items on the customer’s screen – removing the awkward and frustrating process of trying to describe where on the screen the customer should be focused on.
“What we’re doing is reducing the effort for everyone - customers and reps. Just like Amazon 1-Click transformed an industry, we plan to do the same.”
High ambitions for Martin, Baker and the Glance Networks team, which continues to grow (they’ve added 10 employees this year with several more in the coming months). But Glance is a part of a market that is still emerging. As Martin said to me, “a lot of companies get it, but many have yet to embrace the methodology and technology. There’s still some education needed.”
Glance, Martin says, grew nearly 60% in 2015 and he expects the company will do the same, or better, in 2016.
Sitting just outside of Boston, Glance is another example of a strong business going a bit unnoticed. In an industry that has some known names – like LogMeIn and their Join.Me screen-sharing product or Vee24, who is attacking visual chat – and has seen some significant acquisitions from Oracle and PegaSystems, Glance Networks, under new leadership is on the rise.
Will they be able to transform an industry? Only time will tell, but the opportunity is there and with Glance Networks gaining traction and adoption from major, global brands, they’re in a strong position to succeed for the long run.