Borge Hald is the chief executive officer of Medallia. Borge graduated from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He previously worked for Procter & Gamble and the Boston Consulting Group in Stockholm, London, and Oslo. In this interview, he paints a picture of how social media insights drive customer engagement and how to leverage that with the Medallia mobile app. He also gives us a view into the future of this space and discusses open problems and opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with background on Medallia. Our audience met Medallia a little while ago. Some catching up would be great.
Borge Hald: We have a vision of the world that is a little different from what exists today. We envision a world in which companies are loved by their customers. When we started this company in the early 2000s, we felt that companies were great at certain things, but they were not good at learning and understanding their customers and getting better in an operational sense. It didn’t seem that hotels had gotten better in the past 100 years, it didn’t seem that restaurants had gotten better in the past 100 years, it didn’t seem that car washes had gotten better in the last 100 years, etc. Yet cars had gotten a lot better in the past 100 years. We thought there was an opportunity, especially since technology was changing, to create a much better ability for companies to act like humans wherein they could truly listen, make use of their senses, learn from it, do things differently, and see if the outcome was different. That is the metaphor we wanted to go for.
We write software for an entire company to understand and improve the whole customer experience with that company. We do this in real time, so it is a real-time operation. Traditionally, what companies had done was research on this. They had researchers go and test things and come back with reports. We feel like this is a live game, and to be able to see what is going on in real time and review it by everyone in the company is when you engage many. When the whole team and the whole company engage, that is where you can make improvements.
If you work in a company that uses Medallia, whether you are in a call center or a store, you will be able to get feedback from customers you engage with directly, either through surveys or through social media. There are lots of feedback sources we monitor and use. Then we have analytics on them. This makes it easier to open cases, fix relationships with customers, and discover root causes in order to fix things. That is what we do.
SM: Can you give us a bit of an update on the company? Last time we talked, the company was at $30 million in revenue and it was still bootstrapped.
BH: We took some growth capital. We would call ourselves “ex-bootstrapped” at this point.