Sramana: How do you enable companies to have dialogues with their customers? What is your method, and what technologies enables that method?
Amy Pressman: If you are a customer of one of our clients, then soon after purchasing that product or staying at that hotel you would receive a survey from us. More and more of our customers are exclusively doing Web-based surveys rather than mail and phone. As soon as the customer fills out the survey, that will immediately show up in our application.
The general and regional managers of the hotel chain see the survey results immediately. Each of our clients can specify who receives the results. That data will flow to the relevant people in the organization. A general manager then has a constant stream of information about his or her property or store. A lot of our customers have different rules about how to handle dissatisfied customers. Often a manager will call them within 24 hours. Companies also have five-minute morning stand-ups so that they can review the previous day’s survey results. It gives them a tactical edge for the day.
We also have technology that allows managers to see what other managers in their company are doing to respond to similar types of issues. We focus on building operational tools that allow companies to be much tighter with their customers.
Sramana: I know you have hotels and retail companies. Are there any other verticals you focus on?
Amy Pressman: We do a lot of financial services, call centers, and business to business. We are very good with extremely distributed companies. We are also very good with extremely complicated programs, which have given us traction with B2B.
Sramana: It sounds as though your model is enterprise software sales. How did you get your first client?
Amy Pressman: I sent an e-mail to a Stanford alumni at Hilton. I hit him at the right moment. He was thinking about that problem, so we were able to get a meeting with him quickly. We went in and hit him with an offer that he could not refuse which involved a free pilot. They had a vendor in place that was supposed to be doing this work.
After the pilot, they gave their vendor six months to come up with the technology to do what we did, and had they succeeded that vendor would have kept Hilton as a client. I actually appreciated that because I want to work with companies that value their relationships with vendors. However, their vendor was not able to come up with a product that was competitive to ours, so we were able to get in there with our product.
Traditionally, companies get customer feedback by using market research firms. Our early competition came from market research firms that tried to put together technology packages. We are first and foremost a technology vendor. The market researchers are primarily selling their methodology, while we have sold technology.