We talked to Ira Cohen, VP, Business Development and Marketing of MMDSmart, the smart messaging pioneers and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ira Cohen: We thankfully have not personally suffered from illness or job loss, although we have many acquaintances who have suffered a personal loss. None of our close family has been sick with the virus, nor have we had to go into quarantine. And, or community has provided aid and support to community members that have been in need.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MMDSmart.
Ira Cohen: I have been in marketing, sales and business development positions through most of my career. Since 1996 I have worked for some of the largest telecom companies, including Nokia and Ericsson and have opened and been part of the leadership team of the mobile divisions at companies that provide tech solutions for the telecom industry, including mSystems, the inventors of mobile flash, and later at SanDisk. I joined MMDSmart 5 years ago at the behest of a former colleague who was one of its co-founders and has been its VP of Marketing and Business Development since then. MMDSmart was founded to provide connectivity services for telecom companies and has since grown to provide communications services via our CPaaS solution to enterprises of all sizes all over the world.
How does MMDSmart innovate?
Ira Cohen: We listen to our market and our customers and then develop in-house all of our own technology, including our innovative enterprise messaging platform MessageWhiz which is the first fully optimized text messaging solution. MessageWhiz is also the first enterprise messaging solution that offers performance-based billing, enabling our clients to pay for the services that we provide based on the success of their messaging campaigns. Many of the developed features for the platform, including customizable links and tokens, call back, and other engagement tools, originated from our loyal customer base.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Ira Cohen: As a global communications service provider that has been in high demand through this global pandemic, we’ve had significant growth this past year. We’ve also grown our team significantly to improve our dedicated 24/7 customer service and meet the growing demand from both telecom companies and enterprise that are using mobile communications to stay connected with their customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Ira Cohen: Thankfully, not really. We were already a digitally managed company, so all of our team are able to stay connected and mostly perform their roles from home. All of our team members were encouraged to work from home, and we provided support to them as needed. Our primary challenge was defining best practices for long-distance management of critical processes and monitoring performance.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Ira Cohen: We added additional account managers, customer service and tech support. We use direct communications tools, including phone, email, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat and chatbot, and launched this year a direct connection for our customer to the 24/7 tech support team.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Ira Cohen: No, we are fully privately held, have received no external financing and have been profitable for a number of years.
Your final thoughts?
Ira Cohen: In the early months of the pandemic, we developed a program to support and encourage small business owners who were especially affected by the drastic changes in their business processes. The past year’s events have shown that every company or organization needs to have an effective mobile communications strategy. It’s the channel that consumers use and expect the companies that they trust to use to communicate with them. We help our clients to navigate the mobile waters, create dialogues with their customers and nurture their valuable customer relationships. In these stressful times of lockdowns, quarantines, and public health crisis, companies that were able to show empathy with their customers and were there for them through troubled times were able to flourish and come out stronger. As we’ve seen, Ecommerce companies that successfully pivoted to the new reality were able to flourish, and we are proud to have played a small role in their success.