The new retention economy makes keeping existing customers and employees as important as reaching out to new ones. A four-year-old San Diego startup is creating software to accurately collect feedback — both factual and emotional — to help companies succeed. They even have a free consumer app to make it “crazy simple” to provide feedback. Times of San Diego spoke with HundredX founder Rob Pace about his company.
Why did you start HundredX?
We founded our Company in 2012 with a mission to multiply positive outcomes and use technology for good. In essence, we strive for both a head and heart impact. We believe 100x level results are possible when businesses combine smart business practices with positive human outcomes.
Our core business belief is that companies that connect with their customers and build a great team win! We watched that truth play out time and time again across all industries over many decades. We also know that existing customers and employees are generally more profitable and productive than new ones. This all screamed out one key word: RETENTION. Yet surprisingly, most of the innovation in digital has been around sales and new customers versus retaining existing ones.
You talk about entering the “Retention Economy.” What are the implications for companies?
Retention and culture are not just feel-good buzz words, they have massive implications for the bottom line. Studies show that small improvements in customer satisfaction dramatically impact revenue growth. Retaining employees is now a $50 billion business and turnover costs are over 20 percent of wage costs and rising. So the stakes for companies are really high.
To thrive in the retention economy, the core missing skill set is listening. We create listening and retention solutions. Digital and mobile have been the key enablers that makes one-to-one listening practical. Big picture, the cultural shift that companies need to make is to move from providing products and services to focusing on outcomes (for both customers and employees). Companies must pivot from a broadcast culture to a listening culture and also spend more time on reality versus managing perceptions. Mobile is the new tongue of a generation and word of mobile spreads fast. But the good news is that mobile can also become the ears of innovative business leaders.
What are the drawbacks of surveys, follow-up calls and other feedback techniques currently used?
Surveys are used when businesses want the answers to questions they have. They are often too long and the evidence that it will matter is unclear. Follow-up calls are expensive, typically not in real-time, and can be highly inconvenient if unsolicited.
We believe the better approach is to make it crazy simple for people in the moment to share they want to tell you in format that businesses can use.
HundredX’s “Express Feedback” product integrates with websites and mobile apps. What do companies learn from it?
We integrate customer and employee feedback onto almost any screen or channel that companies already have such as websites, apps, emails, videos, in-store tablets, etc. Our clients report three major benefits from creating a listening culture. First, they can respond to the providers of feedback in real-time and demonstrate they really care. Second, the crowd is the smartest group ever assembled. Collectively, they will tell you everything you need to know about your business. It’s the old idea of management by walking around scaled in the digital era. Finally, it turns out people often have something nice to say. In fact, if you enable in the moment feedback, 75 to 90-plus percent of the time the comments will be positive on average and 50 percentof those comments will be about your great people.
Think of the possibilities when businesses can fix problems quickly then focus most of their energy on building on what is good versus dwelling on the negative. The best part of working at HundredX is seeing tens of thousands of hard working employees getting publicly recognized by a customer or co-worker to their boss.
You also have a consumer app, Expresit. How does that work?
Many businesses don’t have their own apps or feedback mechanisms so we built one that everyone can use leveraging the technology we create for large companies. We provide our Expresit feedback standard solution free to both businesses and consumers. Consumers like it because we don’t sell ads or our users’ email addresses. Our team has now created about a hundred industry prompts to try to make the feedback experience highly relevant. Several cities use Expresit to listen to their citizens. That is a big idea. Overall, the most highly used feature is the ability for a user to recognize a great employee or colleague at any business. We call that the ‘heromaker feature’ and our goal is for a million people to be recognized by name through the Expresit app. That would be using technology to multiply positive outcomes at the intersection of business and good.
Times of San Diego, a startup itself, regularly writes about startups in technology, biotech and other sectors of local business. If you are a startup in the San Diego area and want to tell your story, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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