I was fortunate to be able to ask Antony Mittelmark a couple of questions about his new venture uVent, a social media powered issue resolution service.
1. How did you come to create uVent?
We’ve had the uVent idea for eights years now, but we knew it was important for companies to take social channels more seriously before we could launch and get traction.
There are many services that rate a company’s product and service features but there are none in place that rate the service received after the purchase was made.
Post purchase service in Australia is generally poor.
In most cases the issue resolution process after purchase happens in private. We thought it would be very valuable for consumers to understand who else had issues with these companies, how those issues were resolved, the time it took to resolve the issue, and the level of customer satisfaction with outcomes received.
For companies, the cost of acquisition and retention is a big issue. Churn (switch) is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia and we wanted to create an interface that helps tackle this by offering a known/predictable fee.
2. Given that the idea is a meeting place for consumers and producers, do you see any difficulty in maintaining uVent as a neutral third party trusted by all involved?
uVent is specifically designed to be a balanced proposition. Both parties have the responsibility to resolve their issues. If a company responds to a uVent and the customer fails to respond to the company, then the vent is deleted.
We have terms and conditions regulating our behaviour and the behaviour of our users.
3. Social media is at the heart of the uVent idea. Does this mean you have to gain a lot of people attached to the uVent channels, or can the concept work virally?
We utilize social media channels to pull users into our interface which provides a more effective
issue resolution channel. Our opinion is that at a certain critical mass of awareness uVent will operate virally or via word of mouth.
4. Do you see less tech savvy companies using uVent? Would you offer support and services to help these companies engage with their users/complainers?
The current uVent model is business-to-consumer.
If companies want uVent to respond quickly in order to assist them to build PR advocacy we would look at this as a service option.
We will also offer a syndicated platform so that businesses can integrate our service into their own platforms in a parent/child relationship.
5. Where do you see uVent in 5 years?
uVent has received an extraordinary amount of attention from media, consumers and companies in a short period of time and we are very optimistic of good growth potential. Feedback we’ve received from both consumers and customer service analysts has been very positive.
uVent will revolutionise customer complaints, ensuring issues are resolved faster, and consumers are always receiving the best possible deal.
6. Can the idea spread outside Australia/English speaking world?
We have already been approached by representatives from other countries, however each country has its own service model and levels of expectation.
We do believe the model can expand but it will need to evolve to meet different needs.