Like many entrepreneurs before him, Nigel Shanahan used a personal frustration as the inspiration for Rant & Rave, now part of Founders Diaries. Rant & Rave started at a Welcome Break service station on the M40. After a lousy experience with an overpriced coffee and unmotivated staff, an idea began to take shape in my head.
I wanted to tell the company how I felt about my experience but faced a challenge – how does the everyday person tell the big company something specific about what they think?
Coming from an MBA at Warwick Business School and roles at IBM, I rushed home and bought the URL rantandrave.com for £5.99.
Since then, both the URL and the business have grown exponentially. The company now works with over half of the FTSE, revolutionising how consumers interact with brands. Customers include easyJet, Sky and Debenhams – which rely on Rant & Rave to get real-time insight from customers.
Rant & Rave offers real-time customer feedback – but without the drag of long surveys, just asking customers to rate their experience and explain why. It just requires a few words about your experience – like what you would write on Twitter or Facebook, except it actually has an impact.
The main differentiator is that the feedback is analysed in real-time and presented back to the brand. It does this through the use of a “sentiment engine”. The engine uses natural language processing to understand every word accurately and in real-time. Whilst 80 per cent of all feedback is understood instantly, the sentiment engine also accounts for the intricacies of the English language. Sarcasm, idioms and emoticons are all recognised and it will automatically flag any ambiguous items for human attention. This ensures that any problems are dealt with swiftly and customer experience improved.
Rant & Rave also offers proactive communications, for example reminding you of a parcel delivery via text message. The business works with over 190 businesses delivering 210m interactions (FY2015), whether it was via SMS, MMS, email, voice or web message.
Another element of the Rant & Rave offering is frontline engagement – a means of improving employee engagement by making sure that call centre agents are aware of how their service is affecting customer satisfaction. This brings an element of gamification to the workplace, addressing training needs and highlighting outstanding service.
For Rant & Rave, providing feedback is not about completing a huge survey or venting your frustrations via social media. It’s all about opening up meaningful discussions between brands and consumers – and I look forward to sharing my experiences as part of Founders Diaries.