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Partner Interview Series: Tim Muhundan of Automate.CX

Zak Pines
November 10, 2020
Min Read

Our VP of Partnerships Zak Pines recently interviewed Tim Muhundan, Founder of Automate.CX, as part of our ongoing Partner Interview Series. Zak and Tim had a conversation about both humanizing and automating the customer journey and how Tim discovered Formstack. They also talked through a before and after Automate.CX and Formstack example for one of Tim’s legal firm customers. Here’s an abridged transcript of the chat. 

Automate.CX: Humanizing & Automating the Customer Journey 

Zak: Automate.CX—that’s a great name. Can you start by telling us about your Automate.CX business?

Tim: CX stands for Customer eXperience. With the programs we create, the customer experience can benefit from automation, but it also needs to feel human and natural. 

We look at that journey of a client from being a complete stranger to becoming a loyal customer and advocate. We help set up that process and teach our customers / clients how to manage that process. Technology is a part of it making it happen, but it’s about what you do with the technology that matters. 

Zak: What is your background that led you into this business?

Tim: I owned a CRM company, and then became a business coach. I’ve come to coach my customers about the importance of obsessing over the customer journey. That is the focus of our business.

Zak: Who are your ideal customers?

Tim: It’s people who share my values around how they want to manage their customer interactions and obsessing over making it an asset for their business. It tends to be businesses whose customers have a high lifetime value, such as professional services, consultants, lawyers, insurance brokers. Businesses with complex workflows who benefit from systemized processes and effective methodologies. 

Zak: With something like this, you must have a specific process you follow when working with customers.

Tim: We look at the end-to-end customer journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making. We add automation to move customers from one step to another, and we do so in a way where the communications are very human-centric. 

Zak: What are some of the pitfalls to avoid with customer experience improvements?

Tim: Avoid over-automation. You don’t want to jump straight into the technology, without understanding the big picture of what you are trying to achieve. If you do that, you’ll end up collecting the wrong information at the wrong time. 

I’m also seeing that post-COVID, it’s critical to be obsessive about personalization. Expectations are heightened; people have had more time on their hands, and they have been upskilled. And they know what a good customer experience is. Expectations are higher now than six months ago.  

Zak: How are you reacting with customers to this environment of heightened expectations that you are describing?

Tim: We’re seeing two types of customers and two types of programs.

The first type is the business who has been hurt by COVID, and COVID has had a dramatic effect on the amount of leads and prospects vs. before. These types of businesses are needing to rethink how they generate new business. 

The second type of business is exploding right now with unprecedented demand for their services. These types of businesses need help expanding their maximum capacity by making their process more efficient and scalable—for example, using automation to pre-qualify the customers that are a good fit for you. 

As part of this, they may be making transactions contactless, and a key element of doing that correctly are the compliance considerations. Do you have the audit trail to back it up? And all of this ties in to how we are partnering with Formstack. Formstack is at the heart of our automation processes right now, orchestrating the customer journey and doing so in a highly compliant way. 

Automate.CX & Formstack

Zak: Do you remember how you came across Formstack in the first place?

Tim: It was by accident. I was searching for a way to insert merge tags into a Word document, and I signed up for a free trial and thought, “Wow, this is good.” So then I thought, “Let me check out the forms part.” And then I found out there was also a digital signature part, and all of a sudden, I met my dream of having one software from data collection to data storage to presentation to approval, while having an audit trail to track and measure the interactions if need be. 

Zak: As you are rolling out these types of projects for your customers, how do you measure success?

Tim: The automation produces two outcomes: Consistent customer experience and better efficiency.  These are positive interactions that feel human. And then the number of hours it saves a business to bring on a new customer or service them. This could be anything from ten minutes to a full man-day for onboarding. We also have a positive impact on customer loyalty and advocacy, which is harder to measure out of the gate. 

Zak: Can you share a specific example of an end-to-end use case in a specific industry?

Tim: We have a customer who is a law firm. Their customer onboarding used to be manual. The customer would come into an office with an ID and documents and sit through reading pages and pages of documents. Then they’d fill out paper forms. Those paper forms would be entered by a data entry person. There would be multiple interactions, and they’d need to come back to visit the office one or two more times. That all takes up time. 

We said we could automate all that, using ActiveCampaign and Formstack. The client moves from one step to the next. They are asked to fill out a specific Formstack form, then they are sent pre-filled terms to review and complete, then they get a letter of engagement as a document to sign. 

Now it’s a consistent, predictable experience. One step triggers the next. And furthermore, the customer has visibility into that pipeline. They know what percent of people have signed a letter of intent and what percent of people are waiting on a deposit. 

Zak: How do the Formstack products map into that process? 

Tim: Formstack is the heart of the process. Formstack Forms is used to collect information from the customer using pre-filled forms, with new information filled in at each stage. Formstack Documents generates the legal documents to the exact specifications of the customer and ensures the terms and signatures are in the right place. Then Formstack Sign is used to capture the digital signature, so the customer can press a button and sign it. 

ActiveCampaign manages the nurture sequence alongside. An email may be triggered or a call with a customer service rep saying, “We sent you an email on September 4, have you received it?” 

Zak: ActiveCampaign and Formstack is a powerful combination, and kudos to you for coming up with these fantastic use cases. 

You’ve shared how you are using Formstack for your customers. What has the experience been like working with the Formstack partner team?

Tim: You are truly creating a partner community. When I look at all of the things Formstack is doing for their partners, I’ve learned how partnerships should be done. 

You have a dedicated partner team. First, I spoke to Amanda, who got me onboarded as a partner. Justin then provided me training and certification. You then looped me in to meet your product team to learn about some of your upcoming innovations. 

Fantastic micro interactions. And now you as a product company and me as a solutions provider can achieve more together. Hats off to the team Zak; your team does a fantastic job. 

Zak: It’s partners like you, Tim, who fuel us to do what we do. We greatly appreciate you sharing that back with us. 

Tim: You have great software too. You have all the parts and pieces, and it just needs to be customized for different verticals. You got us onboarded and certified quickly so that we can start helping the customers who need our help. 

Lightning Round

Zak: Let’s wrap up with the lightning round. What are some of your personal interests or hobbies?

Tim: When I am not creating content, I am out on my bike or kayak exploring New Zealand. I am currently training for an event called Coast to Coast—the iconic multi-sport race across the Southern Alps of New Zealand that combines 243 km of cycling, running, and white water kayaking. I am just loving preparing for it!

Zak: Do you have a favorite productivity tip you’d like to share?

Tim: During COVID, the number of customers I’m helping has explored to over 200 in three months. You need good systems to do that. I use Basecamp to manage my projects and tasks for each project. I like to practice what I preach in managing my own customers with great processes. And I ask for feedback to perfect any holes.

Zak: We think the same way as the Formstack partner team. We use our own tools for our partner interactions and processes. Pivoting to a different question, do you have a favorite TV show? 

Tim: No TV for me. When I’m not working, I’m with family or dogs or kayaking. The best way for me to recharge is with family or going hard out on my bike or kayak.  

Zak: What’s your go-to lunch during the workday? 

Tim: I have lost 35 kilograms—a third of my body weight—since COVID started. I did that by growing vegetables in my garden, eating healthy. We stopped eating out. We started cooking our own food and minimizing trips to the supermarket. I’m now having fresh food every day.

Zak: That is fantastic, Tim. I think this disqualifies you from asking our typical final question. I’ll ask it anyway, though: Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Tim: Yes it is. 
Zak: And that’s a wrap.

Looking for your next step? Check out Formstack’s partner program for consultants, agencies, and tech partners.


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Zak Pines
Zak is the VP of Partnerships at Formstack, where he focuses on growing agency, consultant, and technology partnerships for the company. He's been creating, marketing, and selling SaaS products for two decades.
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