5 Minutes with Richard Causton

Spark’s Resident Client Whisperer

5 Minutes with Richard Causton

Spark’s Resident Client Whisperer

At Spark, new development real estate is our thing.

Much of our team spend their days speaking to new development sales and marketing teams around the world advising on the best ways to streamline their sales processes and strategies. We take pride in our team’s product and market knowledge and no Spark team has a deeper understanding of these than Customer Success (CS). Our CS team is a coterie of adept solutionists who foster genuine relationships with our clients in order to best guide their teams to success.

Leading that team is Richard Causton, our stalwart Director of Customer Success who started at Spark as our first and only Customer Success Manager, a one-man-operation single handedly guiding and onboarding all new Spark users. Since those early days, Richard has not only built up our CS department through his growing team, but has worked tirelessly to build trust and ensure our clients needs are exceeded.

Richard took five minutes to talk to us about some of the exciting projects he has helped launch, becoming a new dog dad, and the shifts he has seen in demand for technology enabled processes.

Q: You have been at Spark for almost 5 years, which is a long time! What has kept you dedicated to staying with, and contributing, to the growth of Spark?

There are a few things that have kept me around for so long. Most importantly it’s the team around me. From less than 10 people when I first started to more than 20 now, the team dynamic hasn’t changed.

We really are a bunch of passionate real estate enthusiasts trying to advance our market! Next would be the product itself. Spark was good back in the day but it’s great now and only continues to get better with time!

Q: As the Director of the Customer Success Department, you and your team have a very important role in shaping our clients’ project launch strategies from behind the scenes — from your perspective, what is one thing that every project marketing and sales program needs to do in order to be successful?

Leverage the tools they have around them!

A lot of problems or frustrations can be solved with technology. Are you using digital displays? Is the availability list on your website live? Are you logging your damn interactions when they happen or waiting until the end of the day and forgetting about your wonderful meeting with Nicki? Are you using Digital Contracts or are you still having people sign 100+ pages with your crappy bic pen?

I have personally seen teams leveraging technology sell 200+ units in one weekend. I promise you, the drinks after a weekend like that have a different taste to them.

Q: In the last few years there has been a significant shift in client demand for technology enabled processes. Can you tell us about the biggest shift?

Absolutely there has been. The number of meetings I have had over the past couple years that have been titled “Company XYZ — Going Digital” is quite comedic.

People have been craving the ability to take any traditional process into the 21st century with technology. Digital Contracts have been a game changer, ID Verification is buttoning things up in terms of compliance — even Custom Reporting has been a huge focus for our partners.

Q: What’s the most valuable feature or work flow that clients need to be using to get the most out of Spark?

Digital Contracts, without a doubt. Everyone should be using them, full stop.

Q: You are one person on the team who has had significant impact in driving Spark’s new feature initiatives — Can you tell us about a new feature release that provides the largest value-add to Spark users and clients?

There have been a lot over the years.

ID Verification has been a big one this year though. Partnering with a trusted company like Jumio to offer our teams the ability to know with certainty who is buying from them has been a breakthrough for those who have used it to date.

Q: You were Spark’s first, and at one point, only Customer Success team member. What has it been like to see the company, and more specifically the Customer Success team grow to where it is today?

I sure was! What a rollercoaster that was… Thanks Sim. It’s been really fun. Challenging, but fun.

Starting out where it was just me in Customer Success to now having a team of smart, hardworking, dedicated people around me has allowed me to think bigger picture on how we can give our clients the best experience possible. It has also allowed me to hang up some hats and put others on (here’s to all you multiple hat wearers out there!). But now, instead of hounding people down for payments, I get to work with our Product & Development team to plan out what Spark is going to be in the future.

Q: What is a current or upcoming project that your team has onboarded that you’re excited about?

It’s hard not to be blown away by Central Park Tower!

At 1,550 feet tall not only is it the tallest residential tower in the world but it is the definition of elevated luxury, from the absolutely stunning floor plans — particularly the casual 3 storey penthouse — to the amenities and views, I certainly wouldn’t mind living there, it is definitely a special project.

In addition to this, besides being an engineering marvel amongst an incredible array of supertalls on Billionaires Row, the Stacking Air Rights process they had to go through is really cool. Essentially buying the air right from buildings beside them, and stacking them on top of each other is what allowed them to build as high as they did.

Q: Outside of Spark, what other trends in the Proptech industry are you seeing and how are they pushing the New Development industry forward?

No idea lol I work for Spark. Spark is life.

Q: At Spark, our staff’s dogs are considered team members. While most people seemed to pick up crocheting or sourdough making during lockdown, you adopted a dog! Can you tell us about Theo?

This question alone could take more than 5 min to answer… Let me try and keep it short!

Theo is a one year old rescue mutt from Bella Bella, BC. According to his DNA test, he is a mix of 20 breeds including Staffordshire Terrier (21%), Alaskan Malamute (18%) and even Mexican Street Dog (2%). He is sometimes loving, sometimes crazy, always a lot of work and I wouldn’t change a thing!

I didn’t know being a protective dog dad was a thing… I sure know now.

Theodore Causton