Payoneer enables millions of businesses and professionals from more than 200 countries, to grow globally by facilitating seamless, cross-border payments. However, this payments leader had a pretty interesting idea up their sleeve when they decided to invest in taking 27 executives around the world.

Leadership POV on the "why"

Payoneer COO, Keren Levy shared some fascinating insights on 'why' they decided to make the investment and the impact it has made.

"We recently flew 27 members of our management team to India so that we could get closer to our customers and connect to our mission to empower entrepreneurs all around the world to build and grow global businesses."

Levy added,

"Those in the company who work in sales, business development or customer care, are used to having a very close relationship with our customers - they're constantly listening to them, and looking for ways to better address their pain points. But it's just as important for someone that's not working in a customer-facing role, making daily decisions that impact customers, to have these connections. For those in HR, R&D, risk, or compliance, it can be more difficult to understand how their role and decisions impact customers day to day, but everyone is ultimately working to make our customers more successful. By strengthening these connections, our team is better able to make decisions that are right for our customers."

Why India?

In deciding on India, Levy expressed,

"We chose India in particular for several reasons. First, it's a strategic market for us -the IT, freelance, and e-commerce communities in India are booming. In fact, India is estimated to account for about 40% of the world's freelancing market, and India's merchants are finding increasing success on the world's online marketplaces.

Second, we recently expanded the product offering we have in India and opened an office in Bangalore, and it's important for us to hear feedback directly from our local customers. We want their honest input - is there something more we can be doing to support India's business community?"

In working in financial services, Levy noted that it's crucial to have the trust of their customers and a reputation for doing everything they can to meet their needs.

Lessons learned for other like-minded companies and entrepreneurs

There's no better way to learn from your customers than to hear from them first-hand. So, that's exactly what the Payoneer team did - they met with over two dozen customers, ranging from solo entrepreneurs through to businesses with hundreds of employees.

"We asked them to tell us about what drives them, what opportunities they are trying to capture, how they manage their daily workflow, and what pain points they have.

It was fascinating to hear what passion the people we spoke to have for their business. Many of them started their business when they were still students. They spent years refining their products or services, and have since grown their business across a variety of channels. We know that it's not easy to make the decision to be an entrepreneur, and it's even harder to take the leap to sell globally, so we're constantly looking to offer more support and tools that make international expansion easier.

From partnerships with logistics companies, to training for sellers, and hosting events where entrepreneurs can get valuable insight from marketplaces and like-minded colleagues all over the world, our goal is to empower our customers to grow and succeed globally. If they can capitalize on the global opportunity, the rewards for them can be incredible. Many of them have reached success they thought unimaginable, and it's inspiring to hear those stories.

Of course, they have lots of challenges, ranging from localizing their marketing, managing their inventory and listings, and figuring out how to manage their capital. Meeting them face-to-face really helped to further highlight how important the tools that we offer can be. For example, our recently-launched Early Payments service provides merchants with access to much-needed working capital.

The customers we met with highlighted how strong the demand is for this service, and their desire to be able to reinvest in their business so they can grow faster. We also heard, over and over, that businesses still want the human connections when it comes to customer relationships. They want local support. As a company, we've been expanding our presence on-the-ground, recently opening up offices not only in India, but in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and the UK and more. Speaking to customers in these areas further highlights the importance of continuing to make these investments."

Short and long-term impact

Levy shared that Payoneer has always been a company for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Getting to spend real time with their customers, learning about what motivates them and also what acts as an obstacle to their success - that's what it was all about.

"A few years ago, we split the company structure into multiple business lines each focused on a different type of customer - such as large marketplaces and enterprises, versus entrepreneurs and SMBs. We also focused more on differentiating customers based on their geography, and identified trade hubs around the world where we could focus our investments to make the greatest impact. India is one of those hubs. In the long term, these customer meetings remind us of the importance of continuously honing our business to make sure we're staying connected to the needs of our customers, and that customer centricity is built into every aspect of our operation.

Our goal is that in the next few months, every single one of our 1,000 employees worldwide, regardless of their role, will spend time meeting customers face-to-face, hearing their stories, challenges, pain-points and aspirations, and be empowered to be able to make customer-centric decisions day in and day out."

Internal results & feedback

The entrepreneurs and businesses they spoke to reflected a lot of the ideals that drive their company. They are intensely creative, which is something that Payoneer often sees flourishing in emerging economies. Levy added,

"When people are more limited on resources, they have to get innovative, and come up with new ways to solve their problems. This is how we strive to be. The people we met were also extremely humble, and it's a good reminder that success should never breed arrogance.

One of the main takeaways that we got from this trip was a reminder that we want to be able to do everything we can to empower businesses to grow - to provide a platform that's truly supportive of their success."

The simple, but powerful takeaway: Empowerment

In a business that's driven so much by regulations and risk, it can be easy to always play it safe and to hide behind the dreaded phrase, "Sorry, it's not our policy..." This is not the way to drive growth.

"We need to empower our employees on the ground to make the right decisions, so that they, in turn, can empower the customer. It's about helping create a culture and an environment that makes employees feel that they can make tough choices.

It's easy to say no. It's much more of a challenge to push yourself to see how you can help your customers achieve their goals. Meeting these customers face-to-face has a big impact in reminding you that everything we do we do to empower them."

Well said, Keren. Well done, Payoneer team.