Ask Me Anything: Matt Howitt, VP of Product

Matt Howitt Convey

Just in time for peak season, Convey launched new communication capabilities to scale the proactive resolution of exceptions and to improve collaboration between carriers, shoppers and retailers. New features include Alert Paks, which help retailers reduce inbound calls by providing customers timely shipment details via their preferred channel. They also include a carrier communication tool to allow retailers to work with carriers directly via Convey’s delivery control tower.

In honor of our new features as well as the one-year Convey anniversary of our VP of Product, Matt Howitt, we collected questions from Convey users and employees.

Check out what Matt said about his career, Convey’s new features, and what the future of delivery could look like:

What was your first job?

At a young age — 11 or 12 — I started volunteering for an organization in the Boston area (where I grew up) called the Boston Computer Society. One of my volunteer activities was to help run the main electronic bulletin board of the organization — I was one of the “sysops.” We sometimes got emails from local companies asking them if they knew someone who could help them set up an electronic bulletin board. I started responding to these companies that I could help them, and all of a sudden they were paying me for it. It was great because I was getting paid for something I probably would have done for free!”

So, let’s fast forward a bit — if you could give 19-year-old Matt Howitt any career advice what would it be?

“Patience, thoughtfulness, and grace go a long way – sometimes a much longer way than brain power.”

What’s your favorite product to use in your own life and why?

“I really like products that have high utility and are beautiful, and I think that Houzz is a great example of that. Houzz became an invaluable resource when I was renovating my house. My wife, our designer, our architect, and I were able to use many of its functionalities like the collaborative image libraries and sharing, visual search, and e-commerce features.

The combination of its visual appeal and its high utility make it a great product — I also like any car made by Audi for the same reason.”

Why’d you choose Convey?

“I first heard about Convey because our CTO Olivier Modica was here – we became friends while working at Lombardi. So, two big things drew me here: one was market and the other was team.

From a market perspective, it was clear that the market, consumer, and expectations were changing rapidly. There is an ‘evolving consumer’ that is continuously expecting more from retailers. I knew that retailers would struggle to solve that problem themselves, and I thought there was opportunity to build software that could help.”

What is your favorite product feature on Convey’s platform?

“My favorite product at Convey is definitely Engage – the Engage product vision goes two-fold. It’s a control tower for all final mile shipments, and it’s a connected visibility system for all shipments. Those two combined have the potential to create a lot of value for our customers.

In terms of Engage and its Command Center, I love the idea that our customers are enabled to be proactive with what happens to their shipments. They don’t have to rely exclusively on the carrier to manage the experience. It reinforces the fact that there are many things retailers can do to improve the delivery experience.

What about Initiate?

“I love the control that Initiate can give retailers. In terms of drop shipping, it means that we’re no longer in the Wild West of shipping decisions made by vendors, especially when it has such an impact on customer experience and cost.”

What is the craziest feature you’ve ever imagined being able to create with our product?

“It would be amazing to get a GoPro view from the carrier’s head of each package getting delivered – all connected to one visibility platform. That way, you can watch the actual delivery process to your doorstep through the carrier’s viewpoint, and see the exact condition of the shipment when it is delivered, even if you’re not there to receive it!”

Convey just released new tools to enhance Carrier and Retailer communication. Can you give some insight into the new features added to the Alerts Center?

“We have always had notifications as part of the Engage Tracking Page but grouping them into these ‘Exception Paks’ and ‘Standard Paks’ is a newer concept. Since carriers send out so many messages for the same issues that are happening, we just recently added even more alerts that will help retailers and shoppers understand what exactly which exception was happening, regardless of the different messaging.

We did a lot of difficult data normalization and data mapping with different messages from a base of 100+ carriers, and as a result, we came up with a solution that is really valuable to the end-user – they’ll be able to know instantly what is happening with their shipment.”

What do you imagine our customers will be able to get out of these Alert Paks?

“A lot more confidence when things go awry! When a delivery goes wrong, we want customers to feel like the retailer has their back versus feeling like the retailer doesn’t know or understand what’s going on.”

Have you seen any marked improvements in the carrier landscape in the last 6-12 months?

“Yes! Carriers are really evolving in their notion of electronic communication and in their need to incorporate more technology. There are many who are on the journey to radically changing their capabilities here, and many carriers already know how much it really matters to the consumer and provides value. It allows them to service their customers so much better.Carrier Communication Exceptions

In terms of value to carriers and the retailers, the costs of electronic communication and automation are cheaper, and when the quality of communication is better, too, that is what ultimately benefits the end user. And that’s what technology should do! So, I’m really optimistic about how the world is changing in that regard.

I think in a few years, we’ll be really excited about all of these use cases and value scenarios that can happen because everyone is connected digitally. For instance, I could schedule my shipment electronically and have someone contact me within a short, designated time frame — all from the chair I’m sitting in.”


Learn more about our new product features around carrier communication here and here

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About the Author

Christina Singh

After graduating from the University of Virginia, Christina promptly packed her bags and moved far west to the Lone Star State. In Austin, she built and managed reputations for small business owners through social media, and found a passion for media, targeting, and content strategy. As a Content Marketing Manager, Christina helps to drive demand generation for Convey through content, developing content strategy and creating outbound marketing materials for its potential customers. Christina Singh on LinkedIn