It’s good to be a customer these days, as tech companies keep devising new ways to keep us happy.
The latest: a real-time customer engagement platform called know’N’act. Today, the company is emerging from beta, officially launching its cloud-based service and announcing it has landed half a million dollars in angel funding.
Know’N’act’s basic angle is to respond quickly in a variety of ways to customer feedback.
If someone hates the room service in a hotel, for instance, management might normally not know about it until a negative comment has been posted on TripAdvisor. Or, if the hotel knows about it, they might not respond quickly enough to prevent a sour posting on a site.
The company’s platform “enables real-time, location-based engagement to let businesses see exactly, when, where, and why a customer is having a good or bad experience and respond instantly,” CEO Srivats Srinivasan told VentureBeat.
To enter their opinions, customers can scan or enter NFC tags, QR codes, or short web addresses on a smartphone or other device, which they are invited to do by customized signage generated by know’N’act.
The code leads to a screen that offers choices or ratings for feedback on the service or product in question. The user might see an immediate response on their screen expressing concern or thanking them, or they might soon receive a programmed email or text message as a follow-up.
Management can be informed of customer responses through real-time text, email, or push notification alerts that are location-specific. An unhappy customer can be talked down by a personal visit from the staff. For a delighted customer, the plaform can offer a coupon, an opportunity to enter a customized sweepstakes, or membership in a loyalty program.
Intregration with a customer relationship management system or a call center offers more communication channels.
Srinivasan said that know’N’Act’s competitors — including what he described as “the 800-pound gorilla in this space, Medallia” — “are focused on the ‘know’ piece of our platform,” such as providing the “ability to capture real-time customer feedback.”
His company’s platform, he said, is stronger on the “act” side, with a toolset of flexible, fast responses that can be customized by the particular business.
“Our rules-based, rich set of response options, [such as] alerts, coupons, sweepstakes, social media invitations, or redirects to other sites,” he told us, “set us apart from other players in this space.”
The Bellevue, Washington-based company said current customers include McDonald’s, Best Western, and the Seattle Art Museum. The new funds will be used for product development and initiatives in sales and business development, Srinivasan told us.
The angel investors included RoundGlass Partners, Founders’ Co-op general partner Rudy Gadre, private investor Gary Rubens, TiE Seattle founding president and chairman Vijay Vashee, and Wright Ventures’ managing director Andrew Wright.