Inside NLX’s transformative business model

We put the customer at the center of the equation and asked ourselves what works best for them - while also ensuring we could grow a viable business for ourselves.

Andrei Papancea

  • Thoughts by Andrei

At NLX, we invite our customers to begin by dreaming of the best possible customer experience, then we work backward from the ideal state to make it a reality. That’s what we did with our business model. We put the customer at the center of the equation and asked ourselves what works best for them - while also ensuring we could grow a viable business for ourselves.

We started by getting rid of the things we dislike the most: hidden fees and service charges. They sow distrust and overcomplicate what could and should be a simple transaction between two businesses.

Then – because we’re so confident that brands will love our products – we simplified our Sales contracts so that there’s no cost or penalty for companies trying our products. Organizations can pilot what it’s like to have Conversations by NLX and leave without spending a penny if it doesn’t fit their business needs. Every month we have an opportunity to prove our value to organizations to keep their business. 

Next, we looked at pricing. Many Conversational AI companies use a tiered pricing model with fancy naming mechanisms and bracketed numbers. However, that pricing model isn’t friendly to businesses of all sizes – from small startups to established public enterprises – and it doesn’t scale. Not to mention, the use of call centers and Conversational AI tools are at the mercy of the customer, not the business.

Rather than imprison companies in tiers – where businesses only get the best pricing at the anxiety-inducing high-end of one tier, teetering on growing into the next, more expensive tier – we introduced pay-as-you-go pricing, where brands only pay for the number of conversations they use. This model gives organizations the freedom to scale efficiently according to demand, without worrying about hitting the next tier and having to pay more for the next month or quarter because of one busy call day.

Furthermore, NLX’s pricing – in multiple modalities – is affordable and straightforward: 

Now obviously this business model opens up our small startup to some risks. What if lots of companies come in to test, sucking up company bandwidth and they don’t get to usage? Aren’t you putting yourself at the mercy of how fast your clients want to go? 

Great questions – and the answer to those questions is, yes. Those are real risks. But to combat these risks, we’ve internally made some adjustments to support our customers and this model.

We hired some incredible leaders – Charlie Callari and Georgina Stopfer – to drive Sales and Revenue, respectively. Their vision, leadership, and work ethic helped get us to where we are today, turning qualified leads into customers, and customers into customers actively building and managing Conversations by NLX. We then expanded (and continue to expand) their two teams to be able to support the demand we’re seeing. 

The two teams are constantly sharing findings of shifts in the market and communicating about the next steps for each individual customer so that our clients continue to receive the best possible customer experience. They’re also quickly guiding clients through scoping to building to production so that customers can begin using the product faster.

Furthermore, both Product and Marketing are advancing self-service capabilities both in the product and in supporting materials so that customers can move even faster. 

We’re not the first company to try a business model like this, and we won’t be the last. (In fact, a little infrastructure company called AWS takes a similar approach!) But we are seeing it working.

And I’m sharing this with you not only because our innovative model is working, but also because it’s part of our culture to elevate the customer, simplify, and be open - and that culture extends not just to our employees and partners that we work with, but to our customers as well.

If you’re interested in learning more, or want to see the NLX difference for yourself, please reach out to us here, and test out what NLX can do here.

Andrei Papancea

Andrei is our CEO and swiss-army knife for all things natural language-related.

He built the Natural Language Understanding platform for American Express, processing millions of conversations across AmEx’s main servicing channels.

As Director of Engineering, he deployed AWS across the business units of Argo Group, a publicly traded US company, and successfully passed the implementation through a technical audit (30+ AWS accounts managed).

He teaches graduate lectures on Cloud Computing and Big Data at Columbia University.

He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University.