What will you be spending your time on in the next 20 years?

By Pieter de Villiers - Co-Founder and CEO: Clickatell

A lot of people ask us about what the future of Clickatell looks like?

This is an interesting and natural question when you reach your 20-year anniversary celebration. My team and I think about the future continuously, as many of our clients expect us to help them execute on that future - and we live in a world of constant change.

We focus our innovation efforts on three core principles:

  1. We believe technology can be used to make the world better.

  2. We believe time is the one thing that we cannot ‘print’ more of.

  3. We believe in solving large, real world problems, not some Powell street corner case.


1.Making it better

In many ways, our core purpose of using technology to make the world a better place has not changed. If To date, our technology, which originated from a simple idea of connecting people and platforms through messaging more than 20 years ago, has been able to save lives (e.g. Haiti earthquake, Hudson River plane crash, Covid-19 response); further democracy (Obama trip to Africa, various voter information solutions); and improve our day-to-day experiences (e.g. first to launch credit card transaction alerts, first to launch Chat Banking, and first to launch payments in chat for brands), the future we see will be even more exciting. Already, we supercharge everyday experiences with automation through machine-enabled intelligence and augmentation that allow people to work better, be more efficient, and enjoy way more gratifying elements than just helping you or me re-set a password. It is a win-win for both our customers and their customers.

2.Time is money

Time magazine famously had an article that stated ‘you probably spent 13 hours on hold last year’. Well, we believe there is not a single reputable consumer brand that likes placing its customers on hold, and not one consumer enjoys being on hold. Therefore, in the short term we intend to be the first Chat Commerce enabler in the world to help leading brands and banks achieve zero hold time for their customers, giving consumers back those 13 hours to do things they love and care about, and make their experiences better. Not only will our innovation zero out call center wait times, we have already created innovations like ‘effortless’ bill payment experiences on our Chat Commerce enablement platforms that provide consumers with single click experiences for traditionally cumbersome tasks like paying for telecom services. We are taking convenience for commerce activities to the next level and giving back time and money to our clients and their customers.

3.Solve for big

We won’t be building a platform that helps you with your next stock pick or adds a backdrop to your video conference call, but we will be enabling our customers to save billions of dollars in customer service and fraud costs; help thousands of customer care agents to have a more meaningful engagement with their clients; spare millions of trees by moving paper vouchers to digital chat commerce transactions; and positively impact millions of people’s lives by assisting partners and governments to better serve you and me during and after pandemics and financial crises.

We will not use our talent to find ways for you to click on an ad, but we will spend our time and resources to help the brands you love to serve you better, and we will do this more than 10 billion times a year. Now that is why we are still here!

While 2020 reminded us that we do not know what the future holds, we know this. Our team will remain curious and creative as we courageously tackle big challenges in collaboration with our clients and partners with a simple goal of creating champions for a better world through technology.


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