NYT Article: Goodsnitch Offers Consumers a Way To Say Something Nice
This article is reproduced from the Goodsnitch blog at goodsnitch.com and was originally published by the New York Times in “Your The Boss”. Article by Eileen Zimmerman, NYT
Founder: Rob Pace
Location: San Diego.
The pitch: Goodsnitch enables consumers to give a business feedback about its service or products in 30 seconds. Unlike review sites like Yelp, Goodsnitch keeps the conversation private — between customer and business. “If your goal is maximum public retribution — we’re not that app,” said Robert Pace, the company’s founder. “We want the world to be a little bit more positive.”
The Goodsnitch app works on a smartphone and requires no typing — just selecting answers to several questions. It gives customers a quick way to recognize outstanding service or an outstanding employee, and it gives businesses an opportunity to gain valuable customer feedback. The technology behind it was largely built by a software development firm, Pivotal Labs, whose clients include Twitter and Salesforce.
Mr. Pace, a former Goldman Sachs partner, said the more widely adopted and used the app becomes, the more customer feedback information it will generate. In the aggregate, that information — such as the things customers in a particular industry respond to positively or negatively — could be used to create reports of value to businesses in a variety of industries.
Traction: Since its debut in August, about 6,000 devices have downloaded the app and provided feedback on more than 2,000 businesses. Customers include the Dallas Cowboys; Life Technologies, a life sciences company in San Diego; and Mossy Automotive Group, which operates 15 car dealerships around San Diego.
“A lot of money rides on customer satisfaction for us, so we want that feedback as quickly as possible,” said Peter Mossy, president of Mossy Automotive, who has been using Goodsnitch for about two months. He said he sees Goodsnitch as the “anti-Yelp” — “the most motivated poster on Yelp is negative. That’s not a real conversation with a customer. All you can do from that point is damage control.”
Challenges: Goodsnitch needs wider adoption and awareness; its value and success hinge on it being used. “We need businesses to say, ‘We listen to this and care about the feedback,’ and we need consumers to be using it and talking about it,” Mr. Pace said.
To that end, the company is working to get several small local businesses to promote and use Goodsnitch and become its case studies. Mr. Pace said he was also looking to partner with nonprofits or organizations that have a mission — like those supporting veterans or the elderly — and want a way to recognize their volunteers and employees as well as others doing good in the community.
Revenue: The app is free to consumers and small businesses. Larger businesses that want more-powerful tools, like control over the questions presented on feedback screens, can opt for the $50 “Unlimited Snitch” version of the app. Custom installations, like the one chosen by the Dallas Cowboys, cost “in the five figures,” Mr. Pace said.
Financing: So far, Mr. Pace has financed the company himself. He said he and his wife decided they could “spend a lot of money to have our name on a building, or we can have this vision realized.” Mr. Pace has not publicly disclosed how much he invested but said, “We are well-funded and have the resources necessary to achieve our mission over time.” If Goodsnitch is successful, he said, “that would be the best money we ever spent.”
Among the many things Mr. Pace learned during his 21 years at Goldman Sachs, he said, was that the most successful companies were the ones that continually improved based on feedback from customers and employees. “If they listened, they tended to do very well,” said Mr. Pace, who worked with companies like Gap, Boeing and Levi Strauss while at Goldman.
Heromaker, Mr. Pace’s favorite feature on the app, lets consumers single out an employee for good service. “In 30 seconds, you can make someone’s week,” Mr. Pace said. “That’s a pretty good value proposition.”
He also cited a study by the human resources consultancy Bersin & Associates that estimates $46 billion is spent annually on employee recognition. “We believe we have the potential to have a very successful, large business,” Mr. Pace said.