It’s been named one of Canada’s fastest-growing firms and it was recently acquired by net2phone, but there’s one bit of news about Versature that might be even more impressive to other small and medium-sized businesses: a customer retention rate of 102%.

Originally founded in 2003, Versature offers voice-over-IP (VoIP) services to Canadian businesses after being spun out of an IT company. Its cloud-based offering goes well beyond a traditional desktop service for making phone calls, however. Versature offers click-to-dial applications, call analytics and much more that help make its clients more efficient and productive.

That kind of success made Versature the perfect candidate to kick off a series of posts we’re running as part of Small Business Month this October. We spoke by phone with Anastasia Valentine, Versature’s CMO, to get a better sense of how the company’s best practices could be applied to other growing Canadian firms.



1. How do You Define Your Company’s Purpose or Mission?


“Our mission is to make our customers successful. We do that through providing great technology and excellent customer care. Phones on desks are very important, but you have to have solutions that enable people to work from any place at any time. Our philosophy is that to be successful we have to offer that extra layer of intelligence in call data. That would be looking at call volumes, checking in on call recordings or viewing call stats to make sure their customers are getting the best value from their experience. All that is available. It’s just part of the package. We want them to not only pick up the phone and talk to a customer, but to get more insights and intelligence and to be more efficient.”


2. What’s Your Top Priority or Goal Right Now?


“One of the exciting things is that we’ve been experiencing rapid growth -- and with that comes some very aggressive targets,” Valentine says. “One of the things we won’t compromise on is our customer centric approach and our retention rate. When a customer signs on, we want to keep them for life. In addition, we want to grow that base and increase the volume we have, but all through maintaining strong customer support and high-touch experiences.”


3. What are Some of the Biggest Challenges You’ve Had to Overcome?


“When I came on four years ago, one of the things we were challenged with most is when we would  introduce ourselves to potential customers for the first time. Companies didn’t know who we were, let alone what we did. The work we’ve done since in marketing, brand recognition and selling has changed that, to the point where we’ve been able to develop our positive reputation across the country. Now, it’s not just a matter of us going to find customers -- they’re coming to us. Seeing that transition from being an unknown to a well-known has been exciting for the company.”


4. How has Technology Contributed to Your Firm’s Success?


“Our tech stack is pretty extensive from the marketing side in terms of being able to keep in touch with prospects, customers, partners and the relationship based on their interest. Thanks to Salesforce we have the technology to tailor that message and reach people at the right time.”

“Overall, having the right technology has been critical to keeping things running smoothly for our team. Whether it’s managing an ad campaign or filling out a form to managing a relationship when a sale is closed, we leverage technology to scale and meet demand. Our marketing team is pretty lean by design -- we’re very careful about who we hire, and we want to make sure they’re able to do their genius work and let the technology to do the heavy lifting on all the other things. We don’t want them bogged down with data entry or the manual management of data.”


5. What Kind of Advice Would You Offer to Other Growing Small Businesses?


“My advice would be to set your bar high and then look at that and say, ‘How can we go farther? How can we do better, do more?’ Setting the bar is great, but being different and better in a highly-competitive industry -- that’s what makes the difference. It’s not enough to have good technology or good people. You need to go that extra mile to make that difference to the customer.”


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