Appreciate: A simple word can say so much

At Hyland, we really appreciate our customers.

Before I get to the title of this post, and the importance of that simple word, let me share some of the backstory.

As I am coming up on my 22nd anniversary here at Hyland, I’ve been thinking about what makes us so different from other companies. I thought back to what brought me here in 1996. Working at General Electric (GE) at the time, the young man who started Hyland, Packy Hyland Jr., asked me if I would join his company.

Not thinking I would leave GE to join the 13-person company, I asked, “What do you see me doing at your organization?”

He said, very confidently, “I have a GREAT product, but the way I am going to build a GREAT company is through exceptional customer service and I think you can make that happen.”

I could not have agreed more with Packy. Many companies have great products, but not every company can be exceptional at providing great customer service.

I thought, what a tremendous opportunity to join an organization that I knew was special, to help drive its customer-service spirit. Packy was open to spending time and resources on making the company GREAT at giving our customers an exceptional experience.

I left GE and never looked back.

As great as GE was, Hyland had the edge. Being a 13-person company, now a 14-person company after I packed up my Southern roots in Georgia and moved north, we could start educating employees on the power of the customer from day one.

Great service starts internally

I remember my first goal was to teach the importance of ‘internal customer service.’  Oftentimes overlooked at other companies, I knew having a strong internal customer service philosophy would help make us a robust customer service organization externally. This was important at Hyland back in 1996, when I started, and is still a part of our fiber 22 years later and 3,200+ employees strong worldwide.

Over the years, I have spent time in several areas of Hyland, learning our business, educating others on the power of the customer and always putting myself in the ‘shoes’ of our customers. Having come from GE, I always thought about things from the customer’s perspective. Early on, Packy, who retired and turned the CEO and President position to his brother AJ, who eventually retired and turned the helm over to Bill Priemer, taught us that many companies can make a great product but a great company is made by respecting the power of the customer.

I am proud that our culture is still focused on thinking about our customers first.

Walk in your customers’ shoes; better yet, buy them new ones

I remember when we started our training classes at our first home, The Bridge Building in Rocky River, Ohio. We decided that it was an opportunity for us to treat our attendees in a very special way by taking them out after class, showing them around our great city and giving them a relaxing experience. I remember one specific occasion where Packy took the class out on our Boston Whaler to the downtown area for dinner. During the boat ride, water washed up over the sides and almost everyone’s shoes got wet.

What did Packy do?

He took everyone to a shoe store where he bought them new shoes. Then, off to dinner we went. No matter what side of the experience you were on, happy or not so happy, one thing was for sure, everyone on the boat that day probably remembers that experience.

From my observation, I would say it turned out to be a positive experience and it helped to define us as a company that would work hard to make sure you had an exceptional experience – no matter what. From the CEO to those who staff our welcome area, our DNA includes making a great experience for you.

Fast-forward 22 years to 2018! I am now the VP of Customer Experience, coming full circle for what brought me here. I have a team dedicated to helping make WOW moments for you. In October, we had our Customer Experience Week where we unveiled our Origami Wall, pictured above. Thousands of origami pinwheels, handcrafted by our customers, partners and employees, adorn our Customer Experience Wall with a simple word: Appreciate.

We decided upon Appreciate because we here at Hyland sincerely ‘Appreciate’ all the trust you bestow on us to help you run your organization more efficiently, to make your employees more valuable and to help make your company compliant. We’re dedicated to helping you accomplish more – faster, smarter and securely.

We work hard to make sure you have a GREAT EXPERIENCE and we APPRECIATE you!

George Angelato is the newly appointed Vice President of Customer Experience and Loyalty at Hyland. Before assuming his new role, he was Hyland’s Vice President of Quality Assurance and Documentation for 16+ years, where he led a team of 250+ responsible for the testing and documenting of our products and solutions. Nearly 22 years ago, George met Hyland founder and CEO, Packy Hyland Jr., at General Electric. During the yearlong implementation, Packy told George, “I have a great product, but the way I’m going to build a great company is through exceptional customer service. Would you be interested in joining Hyland to help drive customer service?” George was thrilled to accept the offer. Throughout his 22 years at Hyland, he has always been a huge customer and employee advocate. Now, with his new role, he is returning to the roots of what brought him to Hyland. George graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in business. His passion for exceptional customer experience is part of his heritage. His father owned restaurants, which gave George the opportunity to be a part of the service industry, where customer service is key. During his time at Hyland, George has been very active in forming the Northern Ohio Software Quality Assurance Association (NOSQAA), a professional business organization dedicated to software quality. He was a CompTIA Board Member and worked as a subject matter expert for certifications germane to the ECM industry. He currently sits on the board of the West Side Catholic Center.
George Angelato

George Angelato

George Angelato is the newly appointed Vice President of Customer Experience and Loyalty at Hyland. Before assuming his new role, he was Hyland’s Vice President of Quality Assurance and Documentation... read more about: George Angelato