A couple of years ago, a musician encountered some trouble while flying on United Airlines and his property got damaged. When attempting to get the proper customer support wasn’t possible, he took to social media and created a YouTube sensation called “United Breaks Guitars“. The jaunty tune caught on like wildfire and it was shared practically everywhere. The airline clearly heard what was going on.

Today, that singer, Dave Carroll, is taking his experience in customer service and is launching a new service platform dedicated to helping companies better manage feedback from their customers. He calls it Resolution1, the “ultimate cloud-based solution, redefining end-to-end customer care and feedback management.”

Customer advocacy software

This new service is an extension of Carroll’s other customer advocacy service, Gripevines, which he launched earlier this year. The focus of Gripevines is to resolve, review and rate your complaints, but Resolution1 is a company-facing platform for customer feedback management, very much in the style of Zendesk, GetSatisfaction, Desk.com, and others. But the one different characteristic Resolution1 has is that it incorporates social media monitoring into the service, seemingly enabling companies to proactively address complaints before they get submitted to them.

Run by Robert Ramage, Resolution1 has some overlap with what Gripevine offers. The goal is to have a system that can manage customer feedback from all sources while also alleviating bottlenecks using an end-to-end solution for team collaboration and customer service. Carroll and Ramage tell us that the customer wants to be heard and resolve their issues at the speed of “today”. Furthermore, the Internet and what they call the “democratization of communication” has exerted new influences on opinion, governance, and business.

Built through the eyes of the customer relations expert, Resolution1 addresses the needs in the feedback process, including being able to connect with the customer, enable internal collaboration, provide a suite of productivity tools to allow more focus on the customers, create ability to reconnect with the customers and motivate employees post-resolution.

From listening to hearing

With Resolution1, companies can have a dashboard to manage the slew of feedback they receive, but also have access to a social media monitoring service to help move the conversation from “are you listening to me?” to “did you hear what I said?”

Here are some of the features that Resolution1 comes with to aid in this goal include:

  • Hearing, understanding, engaging, and leading the conversations that occur online
  • Real-time monitoring of social media channels and provide means to engage with customers who are talking about the company’s products or services
  • Post-resolution, the customer’s contact information and feedback are logged in a case management file and stored for review

One thing that Carroll points out is that the service geared to just more than a customer service representative who will create and route tickets. It’s targeted towards all members of the team, including the executive management — if there are any problems that need to be escalated, it’s assigned to the executive. It isn’t just a matter of copying them on an email — everyone is responsible in the system. And you can deal with multiple issues within a single customer communication so that the customer feels all their concerns have been addressed.

The company says that it will support all CRM and legacy system interfaces, which is great for businesses that don’t want to manage multiple services and worry about importing and exporting data. Prices are set on a per seat basis and starts at $9.99 per company/month with 2 agents. From there, it increases to $29.99 per agent/month for the Silver plan and $49.99 per agent/month for the Gold plan.

For those companies that wish to sign up for both Gripevine and Resolution1, Carroll says that special pricing deals will be made available so that customers are not paying excessive fees.

How is Resolution1 different from Gripevine?

When we spoke with Carroll, one of the things that concerned us was the duplication of roles between his earlier service Gripevine and Resolution1. He tells us that Gripevine provides the feed to Resolution1 — while most company may have their CRM systems feed into Gripevine, he says Resolution1 deals with everything. In addition, you could consider it to be the service that offers a “full tool and resolution set” for a business.

Carroll is quick to say that it’s not a marketing CRM system — it’s a combination of two subparts of a CRM, he says: social and customer service. In the end, with Gripevine, the goal is to help customers get resolution. With Resolution1, Ramage wants to help businesses solve conflicts.

Gripevine gets a makeover

Resolution1 isn’t the only one of Carroll’s companies announcing news today: Gripevine has launched new business profile pages, updated its process for sharing gripes, and improved its customer dashboard.

Starting today, companies that claim their business page are given full access to the complaints on the service, in addition to being able to customize their page as it sees fit to share information on services, products, or coupons for discounts. Through the use of its proprietary resolution dashboard, which is managed through Resolution1, it allows companies to access and resolve issues securely and privately, which is free — anything else more robust will be handled through Resolution1. Multiple agents can also now respond to different gripes.

Think about it being like Yelp meets GetSatisfaction and Klout.

Another update is the ability for companies to flag gripes as fake. In doing so, if it feels that a gripe isn’t a legitimate one, it can contact the customer to verify it, but if they do not reply to the company’s multiple attempts, then it can be marked as fake within the Resolution Dashboard and Gripevine is alerted. Carroll says that if the customer replies back later with an excuse (e.g. “I was away on vacation”), then the gripe can be reactivated and put back on course for resolution.

To help ensure openness and transparency, Gripevine offers everyone the chance to view the status of any gripe in its system. Carroll believes that corporate transparency builds customer trust. This is also being achieved with the service’s reviews and ratings feature which allows customers to show their satisfaction regarding their issue’s resolution.

Of course, the whole process starts with a gripe. Customers can log into the site to easily “plant” a gripe in three steps, which will allow for as much information as possible in order to properly articulate the complaint to the company. It contains a “public section” that everyone can view, but also a “private section” that  is sensitive to only the customer and the company (e.g. account numbers, personal documentation, etc.).

This update also includes a better search algorithm that will find businesses faster and customers can post gripes against the corporate head office now.

So far, Gripevine has over 7,000 users signed up, although not all of them have posted any gripes. There are over 100 companies participating, including Coca-Cola, Verizon, Orbitz, and many Fortune 1000 companies. Both it and Resolution1 are self-funded endeavors, but it’s not short on money — the team has invested $2 million into the company.

Photo credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images