Rant & Rave chairman Nigel Shanahan made some big changes in 2017, driven by a desire to revolutionise customer feedback to improve brand engagement.

The start of a new year gives us the perfect opportunity to look back at the successes of the last 12 months and to look ahead at what 2018 has in store. Last year was fantastic a fantastic one for us – we saw record revenue, and reached a major milestone with over 100 employees now in the team. Everyone at Rant & Rave was delighted to see us mentioned by both Gartner and Forrester.

New leadership team

In 2017 we saw significant changes in our leadership team with a number of key appointments across the business. In January last year we appointed a new CEO and have since welcomed a CCO, CTO, vice president of sales and CFO and chief revenue officer.

We also spent time last year building a strong management team with key hires from across the customer engagement and enterprise technology sectors. From the C-suite down, we now have such a strong level of experience at Rant & Rave, I am immensely proud of our team.

As a customer experience company, the quality of service we deliver to our own clients is incredibly important to us. We’ve therefore been working to take our customer relationships to the next level, introducing new account managers, who we are calling success managers, to ensure our customers are having the best experience with us.

We’ve also been adopting a new entrepreneur methodology across the business this year. We’re currently about two-thirds of the way through this roll out and I am excited about the benefits it’s set to bring the business.

It’s called Traction, which is a proven methodology to ensure everyone is aligned to a vision, the values are lived and that issues are resolved quickly. It’s a way for businesses to scale and rid themselves of the ceiling of complexity that can hinder growth.

Product innovation

We also spent 2017 improving our product. We had always been proud to be seen as disruptive innovators in the customer experience sector, and I think we had begun to lose sight of that a little. So, in 2017 we made a multi-million pound investment to get that back.

We’ve invested heavily in new permanent listening posts that capture feedback whenever customers feel the need to share it. Rather than brands dictating when they get feedback, we want to empower consumers and make it as easy as possible for them to share their experiences, whenever and however they are interacting with a brand.

You wouldn’t ask a friend how their birthday/party/work presentation had gone weeks or even months after it happened, so why do so many brands find themselves doing it when asking customers for their feedback? We believe in just three things – ask your customers in real-time, let them reply in their own words and make it easy for them to share their feedback. I couldn’t be happier that our new product innovation is helping us to do this even better.

Looking to the future

Gazing forward, our new technology is allowing us to help our clients get even closer to their customers. There is nothing worse as a customer than sharing feedback and feeling like it’s not being listened to. We are now able to close the loop with feedback, so if for example your customers told you that your restaurant wasn’t offering enough vegetarian options, you’ll be able to let them know when you launch your new vegetarian menu. By joining up feedback with marketing, brands are able to communicate much more effectively with consumers.

We also know that customers are bored with surveys – we’d even go so far as to say that surveys are dying. We’re offering brands a real alternative to traditional surveys that allows each to listen to customers on their terms. This year and beyond we want to continue to disrupt the market, have fun with this messaging and be seen as an alternative to traditional providers in this space.

International expansion will be a key priority for us in 2018. We’re working with major brands across international borders already and this is a trend that’s set to continue. We’re looking towards continued expansion in both the UK and beyond for next year, and investment may be crucial in supporting that.

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