Borne out of that need is Voicesifter—the Missoula startup’s flagship CRM tool. Voicesifter provides a channel for customer feedback, smartly sorting responses from an initial five-star rating system.
“Feedback that’s three stars or lower gets sent to a manager right away so that the customer can be comped, or whatever they need to do to make it right,” says General UI CEO Jason Thane. “The fours and the fives, we ask the customer to post the review on Yelp or Google - it highlights the positive and minimizes the negative. It’s solving a critical problem for restaurants and lots of other businesses.”
The Right Partner
Kaler and Sample had a background in restaurants, but they needed a technical partner to help bring Voicesifter to fruition. “We had a concept but neither the co-founder or I had the technical experience or expertise in software to get it off the ground,” says Kaler. “Our needs were everything to support the vision and the concepts. It was really the hands-on technical support and not just to take dictation of ‘here’s what we want,’ but more of a working partnership as well.”
“We asked a few people about who they thought we could go to locally or outside of Montana for our development needs, and they brought up General UI,” says Kaler, who’d been introduced to Thane in the past.
Build & Test
Kaler credits General UI with some critical improvements to the concept.
“They came up with the idea of really refining what we were doing already via Web and having it route through this SMS survey media so that we could engage people via text message,” Says Kaler. It’s a relatively novel concept for gathering this sort of feedback, and [they did it] in a way that didn’t compromise.”
“It came down to ‘What’s the quickest and easiest way that people can submit their notes and thoughts?’ SMS was the thing that came to mind,” says Thane.
Implementing Twilio provided user anonymity, further reducing friction for customers, says Kaler. “It provides a relatively anonymous venue number, so you don’t have customers feeling like they’re exposing their phone number to a manager or a restaurant owner and vice versa.”
General UI set to work building an minimum viable product (MVP) using Node. js, AngularJS, and Twilio. “We built the product in a lean fashion, says Thane. “We started with a very basic, minimum viable product. We got it out in front of people right away, gathered and solicited feedback. That shaped the course of the business decisions going forward to develop the product.”
“We beta tested with five different business types,” says Kaler. “That was during the early spring of 2015. We ran that for anywhere from three to five months, depending on who signed up with us. Every one of those beta testers has come on board now as a paying client.”
A Great Relationship
Now Analytico is onboarding at a steady clip. Development has moved from the product core to building an in-house onboarding component. In the meantime, General UI provides support for new acquisitions, and Kaler says the level of attention is a major comfort.
“I remember it was a Tuesday, day after 4th of July, Kaler says. “One of our clients was having trouble with one of their managers, who wasn’t receiving their customers’ SMS feedback. I reported that to support and at seven o’clock at night, and Jason Thane is jumping on and replying to the support thread. How many companies are there — especially of their caliber, and the kind of clients they have, of business they do — where the CEO will jump on? When you report a support issue, will jump right on it? Just spectacular.”
VoiceSifter is a cloud-based feedback software that solves the problem for insufficient communication between brands and employees. Employees and workplace culture have a direct effect on revenue yet it remains an obstacle for companies to consistently check in, respond, and LISTEN to employees.
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