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Dallas Innovates 2020 Thought Leaders: TaskUs

Q+A | Musings on innovation from the region's paradigm-shifting companies and organizations.

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TaskUs is the fastest growing tech-enabled business services company in the world, delivering customer support, AI operations and content security services that power the world’s most innovative companies. Listed as one of Glassdoor’s “100 Best Places to Work,” USA Today’s “Best Company Cultures” and “Best Companies for Women” by Comparably, TaskUs is a frontline-first company that puts its people at the heart of everything they do. TaskUs has been recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America for the past seven years consecutively. Founded in 2008 by Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir, the company raised over $250 million in 2018 from the world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone.

TaskUs currently has over 18,000 employees and offices across the U.S., Philippines, India, Taiwan, Mexico, and a future site in Greece.

Tell us about TaskUs.

TaskUs is a tech-enabled business services company, delivering customer support, AI operations and content security services that power the world’s most innovative companies.

Jarrod Johnson [Image: Courtesy TaskUs]

How does TaskUs differentiate itself from others in the region?

TaskUs is the brawn behind the brains of Silicon Valley. We support the most disruptive companies in the world as they scale to meet market demands. We were born on the web and grew up in the cloud, providing the kind of cutting edge support services technology innovators need to make their visions a reality.

Innovation comes in many forms—from finished products and processes, to implementation and idea generation. How would you define your company’s innovations?

TaskUs’ innovations are a balance of technology implementation and smart human resource management. Businesses today recognize the value of an A-player and will work hard to retain great talent. Part of getting the highest value production from employees relies on a company’s ability to utilize them effectively. Cumbersome, mundane and simple tasks can be better served by taking them off of the employee’s plate; this is where TaskUs deploys Data Science, AI, and Automation to unleash the power of human capital to solve complex problems for our clients. That’s where TaskUs turns innovation into impact; knowing our customers, understanding their pain points and providing the tools and team to fuel hyper-growth.

How has your industry changed in the past five years? What do you predict will happen in the next five to 10 years?

The most dramatic change in customer support comes from the ways brands communicate with their customers. Phone calls of the past are being replaced with chats, SMS messages, and in-app communication. Brands want to communicate with their consumers in the places and ways they create them—digitally. The on-demand society also demands high-speed resolutions when problems arise, so there is a real focus on swift responses and meaningful results. Areas such as content moderation on social networks or machine learning and AI support barely existed 5 years ago but today make up a large percentage of our client base and the work our teammates perform each day.

What is the biggest challenge in your industry at the moment?

The rapid pace of change is a massive challenge in our industry today. Whether it is effectively defining and enforcing new policies on the social web, or reacting to new product or market launches and new consumer trends, we must constantly be at the forefront of technological and behavioral change in order to meet the demands of the next-generation companies we serve.

What are the most critical changes that your industry must make to face the future effectively?

Meeting the consumer in the place or channel they want and delivering an effective customer experience is a major change for our industry. Sitting back and answering phones via 1-800 numbers just won’t cut it any longer, we must constantly innovate in the way we serve and the channels we allow consumers to reach us through including recommending ways to automate the resolution or recommend self-help options so consumers don’t need a company in between them and their favorite brands. As for helping to keep social networks safe and acting as the police force of the social web; the notion of what is safe, fair, or acceptable is constantly changing, forcing us to be on our toes and agile to the needs of our clients and consumers and constantly aware of social norms and policy trends.

What is something that you wish everyone in your industry was doing currently?

We wish every player in our industry put the front-line employee at the center of everything they did and every decision they made. We wish they considered their welfare, their holistic health, and their long term success in their business decisions rather than viewing them as labor arbitrage or profit drivers.

What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

We have built a culture that thrives on transparency and respect for our core values. Our advice to growing brands is to define your core values and do everything you can to represent them every day. When a teammate violates those core values, you have to have the courage to hold them accountable for their actions; to improve, change and evolve every single day as individuals and as an organization. When you do these things it sets a tone, and clients notice. It makes a difference far beyond what you might expect.

How does the region’s access to resources, such as higher education and/or access to capital, impact your ability to compete?

Our Texas offices are a vital part of our success. From our corporate office in Dallas to our operations sites in San Antonio and our co-founders’ office in Austin, TaskUs has made a home in Texas. Here in Dallas, we are in close quarters with some of the most disruptive and innovative brands in the world, exactly the types of companies we want to work with. And we’re also embedded in a community that is full of talent. We grow alongside our customers—which means fast—so we need access to the well-educated, creative minds Texas has to offer.

What is one piece of practical advice you would give to someone starting out?

“What got you here, won’t get you there.” The grandest plans and designs get blown up every day. Let go of business plans, and stay true to your core. Fight every day to just get better, serve better, be better. Our experience tells us the market will notice, you will adapt, and you will be stronger for it. This will allow you to survive and thrive along with the market needs.

A version of this Thought Leaders article was first published in Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine.

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It’s a moment for innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth, one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. In Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine, we explore the people and companies you need to know in Dallas-Fort Worth. From first-time startups to innovation icons, these are the people and companies driving the future forward.

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