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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Borge Hald, CEO of Medallia (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Oct 25th 2013

Sramana Mitra: When you say “you can be notified and you can take action,” who is the “you?”

Borge Hald: Typically this involves a front line manager or employee. Let’s say you are the general manager of a hotel. Somebody writes something about you on TripAdvisor or Google+ Local. If it is complimentary, you might want to go back and thank that person for the compliment, and show you are engaged. If they say something that wasn’t good, the fact that you go back and talk to them, and do it in a genuine way, is going to be a testament to anybody who reads it and who thought badly about you. It will show that you care. In some ways you rescue that customer relationship, and at the same time you show to the world that you care about your customers. That is a typical use case for doing recovery work at Medallia.

The other thing that has been very important for us is that the company has people who need to engage and are on the run, but customers want to engage as well. One thing is that they want to post on social media, but the other thing is that our companies send surveys to them. They are not very long – they are more like check-ins: “How do we do? Please give us a rating. Thank you for being our customers.” If there is an issue, they get called back to resolve the situation. That is increasingly happening on mobile devices as well. If you look our customer base, the percentage of people who use mobile devices for surveys are about 20%, when it used to be 5%.

This is especially so in retail and hospitality. What did there is to make sure that the experience on the mobile device is not as different from what it would be on a desktop. I don’t know if you have ever taken a long research survey that has lots of tables, but if you do this on a mobile device, you won’t end up very happy. We are shortening the surveys to be more like check-ins, and then we are making them look like mobile apps. Our technology detects who the client is and can automatically serve up the right interaction for the users. When you don’t have this on, you lose about 25% of the people because it is just too tough of an experience. That loss can be cut to under 5% when you get it right.

SM: Pick whichever customer you find particularly interesting, and let’s dive into what Medallia does for that customer.

BH: Let´s start with a company called Best Western. Most of the hotel companies use Medallia. I recently spoke with a general manager who operates on Long Island. He always carries his phone with him. Anytime anybody posts anything about him on TripAdvisor, he sees it immediately. In addition, when he gets a guest survey back from a guest, he responds to that guest. He does this in a very genuine and helpful way. He told me that even after people had a bad experience, when he emailed them or talked to them on the phone, they went out and posted reviews on TripAdvisor for him. By showing what he is all about, he is able to increase his positive word of mouth and get more bookings. He says that it is materially affecting his business. He can’t be in front of the computer the whole day, so for him it is extremely important to do this on the mobile phone. The fact that it is social makes it so much more important to be responsive and good at it.

Then we have another use case, which involves a very well-known electronics retailer. They use Medallia all over their stores. The system is being used in the store by checkers and store managers, but also by the regional and territory managers. In this particular case there is a person who has multiple stores reporting in to her. She had gotten an award for having the most improved territory. It used to be not such a good territory, but within a year of her arrival, it became one of the top performers.

How did she do it? She told me, “When I look at my Medallia solution, I look at every survey that comes in for all of my stores. Then I will forward them directly from that application – with my comments – to the store manager. I have done this for every day for the last 12 months, and it causes people to focus on the right things, and gets a dialogue going about how we operate.” She became more customer-centric and sent signals down the organization that she cares about it, and they got a real dialogue going. She could do this on the run. If she had to sit late night to do this, she wouldn’t have found the time.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Borge Hald, CEO of Medallia
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