The financial boom of the late 80s caused wild rumors of a mysterious black credit card circulating the fine-dining tables reserved for champions of Reagan’s Supply-Side economy in Manhattan’s Financial District. So pervasive were these rumors, American Express finally capitulated to the urban legend-based demand and created its Centurion Card in 1999.
You know how Amex represents the best of customer service, and the black card is reserved for those who deserve even better than that? Josh Royal, CEO of Aventus believes that there is a customer service strategy that equals the American Express experience: “For one thing, we’re not that expensive,” quips Mr. Royal from his home office. “I wouldn’t even say we were exclusive, per se its just that we just didn’t advertise”.
The new Aventus headquarters is an 8,500 sq foot call center in North Myrtle Beach, SC. A new home for Aventus that the self made marketing monster opened this February after years of blood, sweat, and tears documented here.
About three years ago in the middle of an otherwise successful e-commerce campaign, Mr. Royal noticed a huge money vacuum in the operation, “I was paying way too much money for pretty worthless customer service. It felt like I was just paying for someone with a pulse to answer a phone. I couldn’t even get a pulse AND a brain.”
The industry seemed like a racket to him. “The call centers acted as if losing 30% of my customers should be something to celebrate because that’s the ‘industry standard’ or that I should have accounts shut down just because these agents can’t explain that filing a dispute won’t help the customer at all! We weren’t deliberately trying to start a call center. Aventus started because we just refused to accept the status quo.”
The “How-Hard-Can-It-Be” mindset led to him buying a couple phones and solving his own customer service problems. “We trained our agents about the industry. Not just how to make a customer happy, but truly resolve their issue. We also gave them a crash course in the industry as a whole; gave them the tools they needed to think analytically about a situation and arrive at the best possible solution for all parties involved.”
Mr. Royal doesn’t remember the exact numbers off the top of his head, but after a one month learning curve he brags his refund rate was cut by more than half and his chargebacks nearly disappeared.
The Aventus project was onto something and his colleagues took notice. “We brought on a couple friends who heard about the success we were having to offset the expenses of managing a physical call center, staffing, keeping the lights on, and much more.
And that’s when the rumors started: Word got out about this secret firm, where refunds are low and retention increased. The enigmatic domestic call center based somewhere in the Carolinas sounded like it was too good to be true.
“People started asking me about it like it was a drug deal. It was weird. I was like, ‘yeah, we do our CS in house, it’s not that big of a deal,” claims Royal.
But it was a big deal to the clients whose hard-earned money Aventus was saving every day. And when it got to the point he was turning potential clients away, thereby leaving money on the table, that’s when he decided to take the operation seriously.
In order to scale he tapped an old friend, Ray Ferro. “Ray had years of branding and scaling businesses, and we were lucky to lure him on the team to be our new VP.”
The almost oracular nature of Ray Ferro’s business philosophy seems like a perfect fit for the once arcane Aventus. His corner office is notoriously free of clutter aside from bamboo stalks and white orchids with Banksy prints adorning the walls. True to his nature and aloof reputation, repeated interview requests were met with terse “nos” until finally issuing an overly credulous statement through his administrative assistant, Danii Bright.
“Ray apologizes, but he’s terribly busy trying to build the best company in the world at the moment. But he is honored to have the opportunity to help a friend and many ambitious clients. Everyday he looks forward to making the world a better place by serving one person at a time. Now leave him alone. #AventusIsAwesome. [sic]” says Bright.
To call him aloof would be a bit of a misnomer. “He just doesn’t do press,” laughed Mr. Royal. In fact, one of the highlights of this year’s GB Summit was a toast Ray gave at the Black Party Aventus sponsored.
The Panama GB Summit their announcement to the world that Aventus is here, and happy to work with “almost” anyone.
The launch of the new website and upcoming #AventusIsAwesome campaign coincides with February’s opening of their brand new state of the art call center in North Myrtle Beach, SC. “North Myrtle Beach has a reputation for being a seasonal tourist town and we’re excited to offer full time year-round employment to the burgeoning community,” explained Royal, a native of the area and proud to support the local economy of his hometown with a revolutionary company finally stepping out of the black.
Josh and Ray invite you to figure out if Aventus can be awesome for you. For more information feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org