Mike Myer, CEO of Quiq, is bringing texting to the customer service field

Woman using her smartphone
Texting is seen as a customer service tool. (Getty/diego_cervo)

With its widespread use, Mike Myer, CEO of Quiq, sees texting as a natural addition to the way companies serve their customers.

Instead of picking up the phone, emailing to say their refrigerator is on the fritz, or asking whether a certain service is available, the consumer just texts in the message to the customer service center.

“It’s a very convenient and timely approach,” Myer told Fierce CEO. “Texting has become the way people communicate.”

Quiq’s software platform has been live for a little over a year, funded with $6.5 million from venture capital firm Venrock. Going public is not out of the question. “Aspirationally, that would be where we are moving,” Myer said.

An IPO “represents the evolution and validates the success of the company,” Myer said.

But right now Myer is focused on building Quiq, which has about 50 clients, including Overstock.com and Office Depot.

They are in the minority given Myer’s estimate that only 3% to 5% of retailers and consumer goods companies use a texting system.

But he sees 2018 as a breakout year“a real pendulum swing”as texting becomes even more rampant and Apple comes out with a transmission system, called Apple Business Chat, for businesses. Apple’s move will not compete with what Quiq is doing but will raise the profile of these types of services, Myer said.

And in 3 to 5 years, the majority of communication will be through messaging channels, not phone or email, Myer said. “Consumers are going to demand it. Every company is going to need this channel.”

Myer has deep experience in customer service software, having previously built the RightNow Customer Experience solution used by many of the world’s largest consumer brands to deliver interactions.

RightNow went public in 2004 and was acquired by Oracle for $1.5 billion in 2011. Myer led engineering while RightNow was a standalone company and later managed a team of nearly 500 at Oracle responsible for Service Cloud.

Before RightNow, Myer held various software development and architect roles at AT&T/Lucent/Bell Labs Research.

Fast Five with Mike Myer

When did you know you wanted to be a CEO?

The beginning of 2015. I had been chief technology officer and didn’t want to deal with all the other things that went into a business. As I went along, my target grew larger.

What are the traits of a good leader?

A ton of persistence, humility and smarts.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 lowest and 10 highest) how much of a priority do you place on the following things at your company: people, process and technology?

People—10, process—7 and technology—9.

What's one tip for motivating employees?

Instead of being told what to do, people are led to the right answer and make the decision themselves.

How do you hire?

I look for initiative, intelligence and integrity.