Kenneth: Joe, Thank you so much for joining us today on A Shark’s Perspective. Please tell us a little bit about your background and story thus far, and what brought you to Reputation.com?
Joe: When I look at my 30-year career, it’s really all been centered around, “How do we create value for our customers?” At PeopleSoft we were trying to help create value around human capital systems. At McAfee, we were trying to help secure the world and keep our customers safe. At DocuSign, I was one of the early executives there in 2011 helped build the infrastructure for digital transaction management.
Fast forwarded to the world of Reputation.com. I had a conversation with the founder about eight years ago and I always kind of kept an eye on it. Companies care about feedback, and now it’s become mainstream. Leading a company like Reputation.com was just right in my wheelhouse in terms of bringing value to customers, and I’m super excited to take on the role.
Kenneth: How do you think reputation affects a brand from that perspective as CEO?
Joe: It’s the whole concept of listening to your customer base. If you don’t listen to your customer base you could end up in a situation like Sears, or Toys R Us. It’s interesting, Reputation.com produced a report today, about the Reputation Score of certain retailers. Think about just your retail experience, right? You always get the same brands that pop up to the top — Nordstrom’s, Apple. Apple’s brand is great, but people are actually getting a little frustrated with waiting in line, scheduling appointments to get their equipment fixed and so on. Structured feedback from your customer has always been surveys, but unstructured feedback exists in the world of Google and Facebook. And boy, if that CEO is not listening to those sources, he might not know that negative sentiment is forming around his brand.
Kenneth: Reputation can affect the brand perception as well and how that leads to sales and leads. How have you started to see that conversation evolve?
Joe: We try to look at real sales impact of people’s sentiment towards a company. We’ve actually put together some pretty solid ROI calculations around that. One of our customers, Ford, did a study and we were able to correlate actual sales per dealership based on their actual reputation score. When you think about reputation score, just think of something that aggregates all that data out there between you and your customer.
If you have a dealer who has a better reputation score, now we’ll be able to tie back an extra 2% of sales at that dealer per year. Then you start to really get back into what that math looks like and it can be significant. We’re trying to do the same thing in healthcare. The interesting thing Kenneth is that healthcare has really changed over the last several years. Over half the major healthcare systems use our platform, and doctors and healthcare systems, for the first time, are really caring about what you and I think of the service. We’ve got some healthcare institutions like Ascension Healthcare, with 7,000 doctors, that are starting see increases of revenue per bed, associated with higher Reputation Scores.
Kenneth: Are you particularly seeing any verticals that are either generally really succeeding or really struggling with dealing with their reputation scores?
Joe: One that surprised me the most was property management. One of our largest customers, Graystar, is probably the largest property management firm in North America. They use the platform to understand if they’ve got negative feedback or negative sentiment on the way they manage their properties. They can see which properties are doing better based on reviews. Here’s another fun one: Westfield Malls. They want to know the review and sentiment power of the brands in their malls, because they don’t want to have leaseholders or brands there that have really bad reviews.The company’s Chief Digital Officer noticed a number of negative reviews about parking, and he figured out that one of his malls had a parking issue. So he could take that feedback and take action on it, look for ways to improve parking.
Kenneth: How do analytics help brands get insights?
Joe: There’s no way a marketing team can look at all their reviews and aggregate that kind of data. Machine learning and artificial intelligence models look at all this data in and drill into it to find actionable items. Without dashboards and analytics, you can’t know what’s really happening with your brand.
Some of our customers are starting to use the Reputation Score as a meter for how they’re doing, not only against their industry but also against their competitors and even even inside the company. One hospital system uses their Reputation Score to measure doctors’ performance. Doctors are competing with each other on Reputation Score. Another healthcare system pays bonuses based on Reputation Score.
Kenneth: Are there any trends that you’re sort of seeing in reputation today?
Joe: One trend is optimizing being found in search. A closely related trend is enabling the consumer to take action. That means optimizing business listings, directories and booking engines to work well together. Another trend I see is people using a mobile device to find a business or provider, book an appointment, then be able to use SMS text to confirm or change that appointment, provide feedback and so on.
Kenneth: How should brands interact best with customers?
Joe: If you’re going to communicate with your customers, you should setup multiple entry points that are comfortable for that customer. If the customer wants to Facebook Messenger you or send you a text message, you should have some kind of formal way to respond to those inquiries. In the automotive space, Facebook Messaging is very important. If the age group of 35 and over is using Facebook on a daily basis and that’s where they want to communicate, brands need to be ready for it.
Kenneth: Do you see the industry moving toward social listening to interact with customers?
Joe: I think if you’re really thinking about online reputation, you better have social and social listening in your platform. Social listening and understanding how you respond to your customers issues socially is more important for reputation. Reputation.com is heavily focused on social listening and how to do it better.