Megan Neale is widely regarded as a thought leader in digital innovation for customer care.
Her passion for “customer & client first” combined with her constant drive for innovation led her to co-found Limitless Technology in 2016. Megan’s vision is to help every company deliver outstanding personalised service, at a lower cost and – by taking a crowd service approach – return millions of rewards to their own customers. During her 20 year career in customer management and the contact centre industry, Megan has helped build successful customer engagement solutions and deliver worldwide, transformational solutions and operational excellence for many global brands.
Megan was an equity director leading a high growth European contact centre outsourcing business which was acquired by the global conglomerate Hinduja Group and is founding shareholder of Semafone, the leader in PCI compliant security solutions for contact centres.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I moved to London having grown up in a small and very picturesque Welsh village to study Maths and Computer science at City University. Growing up in a tiny Welsh speaking village and not being able to speak the language taught me that even if you struggle to communicate it, you will always be able to find a way forward. This is something I’ve always lived by.
I always enjoyed being responsible and helping people – so when most of my classmates moved off into accountancy and banking I took the unlikely route into retail. Running a store seemed like it would satisfy all those things and that’s where I fell in love with customer service. It was then an easy step into an outsourced customer service start up where I was responsible for operations, client services and IT. I became an equity holder and helped build the company to 2000 employees.
There is something so rewarding about providing great service, I just love it – it’s what makes me get up in the morning, whether it’s seeing my clients happy or seeing one happy consumer.
In 2016 I co-founded my latest business, Limitless Technology, a gig platform and marketplace that enables brands to pay their own advocates for providing high quality sales and customer service on a per task basis. I now spend my days working with and building an incredible team to support our client base; we are only 18 months in and have the privilege of working with brands including Microsoft, Vodafone, Unilever, National Express and many others.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I think I always knew I wanted to get to the next level in whatever I was doing. When you’re studying, progression is very much laid out for you and I enjoyed that process. I just expected it to continue in my work life. As such, I was always clear with my managers what my goals were and have been fortunate to have been able to achieve them. My primary objective in my work has been to work with people who I enjoy spending time with and who can do things I can’t, so I can develop my skills. Whenever I have found myself in a team where that was not the case, I made a conscious effort to change that.
When I had my daughter I was keen to find some form of balance and blend my career aspirations with family life. I worked four days a week for eight years and I was able to successfully progress my career at the same time.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Many, but I am an optimist by nature so can honestly say that none of the challenges were real challenges. When I first moved to Europe into an Area Manager role, I needed to prove I could speak German. I couldn’t, so I took some evening classes, moved there and deliberately recruited people who didn’t speak English so I had to learn. Within three months, I was able to get by just fine.
Also, managing a workforce of 2000 people who are largely paid minimum wage while maintaining a great culture is tough and relentless. I’ve therefore learnt that culture is something we must have every day, not just once a month or quarter and no matter how well you think you are on top of it, you can always do more.
How would you encourage more young women and girls into STEM?
Do what you enjoy and remember that STEM doesn’t mean only software coding or hard core engineering, it can be all manner of things. I think we need to help young people get a broader understanding of the types of roles available that are perfect for their skills. If you enjoy a quantitative subject then explore companies that interest you and look at the wider roles in those organisations. If you make sure you are in a sector that interests you, then your analytical nature will simply come through as you develop and the opportunities will be there for you.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
So far my biggest career achievement would be successfully founding and launching Limitless Technology with my co-founder Roger Beadle who I have worked with for 15 years. As a start-up, every day is hugely rewarding and celebrating the little moments of success along the journey are what makes this fun. In terms of a wow moment – receiving investment from Unilever and Downing Ventures did make us think “ok, this is real now”.
It’s not really an achievement, but I am constantly blown away by the talented people who I have the utmost respect for that are choosing to come and work with us in our quest to “be known for making customer service great for everyone everywhere”.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Limitless is growing really quickly, we have launched in 7 countries US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Germany and Poland already and will be in 21 countries soon. I am looking forward to being truly global and the opportunities, and learning, this will bring for the whole Limitless team.