Exeleon Magazine

Jonathan Shroyer: A Vibrant Force in Enriching Customer Experience

Jonathan Shroyer_Exeleon Magazine

Leaders are pioneers — people who are willing to explore opportunities in the unknown. They have a heart for adventure and an eye for better roles, products, and experiences. Moreover, they believe that the next big thing isn’t hiding under a desk and are a fitting example of innovation through active exploration.

One such leader that is leading change and stretching the boundaries in the realm of customer experience is Jonathan Shroyer. Jonathan is the former CEO and Co-founder of Officium Labs, the future of superior customer service, and now the Chief CX Innovation Officer of Arise, post-merger. His vision is to create a decentralized network of amazing talent and provide bi-directional value to the customer and the talent.

Jonathan Shroyer believes that pioneering is a mindset of believing and hoping for something new, different, and better, and then going after it to make it happen. He highly regards pioneers like Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Nikola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Mahatma Gandhi that moved the world with their pioneering actions.

Additionally, he also has a distinctive leadership style. In his own words, “When I think about the future, I think about what is needed in next 5-10 years and then reverse engineer it back to today. This helps me imagine what the world could or should be.” His company hinges on this growth mindset as it is the catalyst that solves today’s problems with tomorrow’s sustainable solutions.

Impact of early years

During elementary school, Jonathan became enamored with maps and geography. He spent countless hours memorizing maps, statistics, highways, oceans, and everything that connects to make the planet Earth. As he understood these objects better, he began to draw, starting from his local town, then his state, then the United States.

Eventually, he hand drew the entire world. He recalls, “Drawing helped me understand how the Earth is networked together into a larger entity—and helped me realize that many of Earth’s smaller geographical entities and variables are defined by humans.”

Over the next few years, he fed his voracious appetite for understanding the known and unknown world. At a young age, he could see controllable and uncontrollable variables and often thought of the world as a workshop.

He believes when you are young, leadership is rawer and not refined. He shares a story from his childhood to elaborate on this belief, “I was sitting in my 1st-grade class and looking out the window and seeing my sister, who was at recess, getting picked on and hit by four other boys. At that moment I did what any good leader would do, I acted. I did not ask permission, I just got up out of my seat, ran through the halls, and out to the recessed area.”

He then proceeded to protect his sister and fend off the bullies. This raw leadership instinct is more refined today. “A great way to build and protect your people is the type of culture you create and maintain. If everyone feels safe, they will thrive in ways even they would not expect,” he adds.

Melding purpose with career

Jonathon knew in his teen years that his purpose in life was to serve and help. As a child, he suffered abuse and tragedy and it was only a few important people, who Jonathan refers to as helpers, that helped him become the person he is today. Drawing inspiration from his past, he endeavors every day to be one of the helpers. This mindset naturally led him to the services industry, and he considers himself to be privileged to thrive and live a more purposeful life because of it.

Later in 2019, energized by an audacious new idea, Jonathan and his Co-founder Scott McCabe took several long walks around San Francisco. As the steps ticked by, they talked about the enormous opportunity to use CX to help companies maximize their revenue. They discussed the vast network of CX resources and capabilities that are currently untapped and hampered by traditional resourcing models. Consequently, they recognized that it was time for a new, innovative customer experience model to help companies protect and generate value. It was time for a break from history. It was time for Officium Labs; Officium is Latin for ‘to serve or to help.’

Officium set out to help companies deliver amazing experiences for their customers. Over the past two years, he and his team helped over 30 companies do this. “We’re grateful to have such great clients to enable us to deliver over $12M in revenue during that span,” Jonathan says.

His firm grew to have a unique and exclusive portfolio. They started with reputed gaming brands like WB Games, Fore Labs, Rally.io, Mythica Games, EA, and Playdemic. They later expanded into different product suites to work with brands like CHEP, Wells Fargo, Amwell, Bank of America, Sunbasket. This was the first whisper of success across all industry sectors where the end goal was to generate profits while resonating with the brands’ customer experience.

Jonathan and his team were instrumental in predicting three mega trends in their domain in 2019: Increased employee flexibility, profitability in customer experience, and alternative payment options. Gradually, greater adaptability and adoption were noticeable across all the trends. Although the pace was faster in a few sectors due to the pandemic, the firm continued to invest and capitalize in itself.

When Jonathan and his team built the business, they were focused on the trifecta revenue model: Connect is their On-demand customer service stream, Transform is the consultative and transformational stream, and Innovate is the tools and licensing stream.

He knew storms would come, so if he easily could pivot around the triangle to what was needed at the time, he could be successful. And when COVID hit he noticed a spike in Connect and now that COVID is ramping down, he is starting to see growth in Transform again.

The firm’s on-demand, fast and flexible solutions provide the best-in-class customer experience. Jonathan shares, “We are often referred to as the AWS of Human Capital or Uber of Customer Service for our Connect business.” Additionally, the firm also has a proven framework to deliver profit in the customer experience through their Transform business. “We have innovative tools that help brands optimize costs up to 30-40% in our Innovate business,” he concludes.

Holding the baton of entrepreneurship

As a Chief CX Officer, Jonathan Shroyer’s job is to continue to be a pioneer in the customer experience area. He strives to help, imagine and create the future of service. All the efforts, time, and patience have led to the upcoming inauguration of CX Lab in April in San Francisco. Additionally, he retains responsibilities to run and manage Arise Gaming and Consulting divisions.

Jonathan wishes to do his best to ensure optimal client satisfaction. He shares, “Both companies have strong playbooks on how they manage clients and have really deep relationships with their prospective clients.” He is confident of the new opportunities and is excited to further strengthen meaningful decade-long client relationship value.

Jonathan’s firm leverages traditional marketing methodologies, social proof marketing, and the most effective method, word of mouth. He says, “Leaders tell other leaders how we have helped them and can do so for their leader peers. Additionally, we are fortunate to receive awards and industry recognition that cements our value in the industry.”

He believes that Research & Development (R&D) has been a key success to his business, but in different ways than most think. “We are not always incubating new tech. We are incubating and building what the future of service will look like. I always ask my team, how many years are we ahead of the industry. If it’s less than 5 years, I call a deep think session and we start to plan what it will take and what we need to do to be 5+ years relevant at all times,” he asserts.

When Jonathon was 21, he built out a 20-year plan to become the CEO of his own company. And at 41, he founded Officium Labs. But the path to achieving several accolades and achievements has its setbacks and breakthroughs. The journey towards success is not linear and is often painful and very hard. The presence of his supportive partner, Kristen Kator, and a son, Andersen made his journey worthwhile.

Later this year, he has an upcoming book about his life called ‘Becoming Jonathan’ that will be an account of his struggle, his success, and the journey in a detailed way.

Being a selfless helper

Jonathan believes that people are the heart of every company and customers are the lifeblood. He says, “Your culture is your brain and your mentors and believers are your eyes on what can be possible. It’s important to set forth and leverage all the greatness in and around you,” he suggests.

He is a big dreamer and leaps ahead confidently to achieve the impossible. He holds Nelson Mandela’s ‘win or learn’ philosophy close to his heart and poured his wisdom and experience into his company to make it the world’s best team.

He advises young and emerging entrepreneurs to be patient with themselves and those around them. Kindness and generosity with your time and praise will never go out of style. Subsequently, it is also crucial to be thoughtful with criticism and ensure it is helpful and meaningful. “Most of all believe in what others have not dreamed yet and go after it and make it happen. That’s the indomitable human spirit,” he concludes.

A future of rainbows and unicorns

Jonathan is optimistic that the future of service is all about the three core tenants of his new parent company Arise: Be There, Be Aware, Be Essential. He says, “There is nothing stronger than brand emotional affinity.” He aims to make Officium just as important to leaders as their cup of coffee in the morning. This is a remarkable opportunity for him to further scale across sectors, brands, industries, and geographies.

He imagines a future of co-creating amazing customer experiences, like a rainbow meets a unicorn, and Arise enables him to do this. There is a grander success that awaits them with Jonathan’s expertise and experience combined with Officium’s talent in segments like Gaming, Blockchain, Logistics, and Consulting.

He says, “We believe it is a win-win for both sides. Arise invented WFH 27 years ago and we get to take advantage of their history and heritage and co-create a future together.”

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