There are many rating sites on the Web for both general audiences and all kinds of niches (food, movies, doctors, lawyers, teachers, consumer goods, etc.). Usually, you rate something along with a lot of others and then other people go there to see how everyone felt before they make a decision to engage with or purchase whatever was rated. With the urge to rate, I am surprised that no one has added this to dating services, and then perhaps they have.
Marc Karasu, founder of MeasuredUp, was frustrated by an increase in poor treatment by businesses both large and small. So he designed a platform where consumers could share their experiences, vent or praise as appropriate and, ultimately, effect change. It is this last factor that makes it different from most other rating sites that I have seen so far. While it is a customer-service driven social networking site, it also helps companies make things right when consumers feel wronged. Marc has introduced the possibility of conversation between customer and company. MeasuredUp both gives customers a platform to express their views and it provides companies with tools to reach out to customers to solve problems and, in the process, have the opportunity to build trust, loyalty and satisfaction.
I have spent a lot of time in the customer service space in a former professional life. It takes around five times as much effort to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. If a customer gets bad service they will much more likely tell many others than the offending company. However, if the company takes the extra effort to fix the problem, the customer is usually much more loyal than before the transgression. The Web only amplifies this.
Marc explained to me how MeasuredUp works. The focus is more on customer service than product reviews. They do not want to simply provide a place for rants, but also try to obtain positive reviews when they are deserved. Anyone can set a page for a company. A consumer can write a customer service review or question and open up a support ticket requesting direct help from a company. This is all free and everyone can see what is said and any responses. Here is the MeasuredUp home page where you can see some of the features.
Companies can “claim their company name” through a new product called MeasuredUp Direct Connect for free. This gives a company access to a private turnkey dashboard to see aggregated company results and a history of support ticket actions. It does not give them opportunity to take down complaints. Only MeasuredUp can do this if they feel the complaint is unwarranted or not authentic. Here is the company claim form.
I asked Marc how MeasuredUp handles the possibility of unwarranted trashing by a competitor or other party with bad intentions. He said they have several approaches to this. First, they do IP filtering so if one IP address is putting up lots of reviews they look closely at what is being said. If it seems inauthentic they contact the reviewer. While reviews can be done anonymously, the reviewer must supply their email address that is not displayed. This is a common practice on many sites. If the reviewer fails to response to the MeasuredUp inquiry, they take the review down.
Small companies that cannot afford a customer service function can use MeasuredUp in this capacity. They just have to dedicate an employee or employees to keep up with the support tickets. These employees will receive email notification whenever a customer creates a support ticket. This service also gives small companies a chance to build brand presence in their category, as they will be operating from this aggregated site. Here is sample company page.
For large companies they can offer an independent third party review and support channel. Brands that are interested in their customer service image should welcome the openness and feel comfortable giving up control over what stays up on the site.
I asked Marc about the business model. He said that a company can claim their page for a fee which allows them marketing access to an identified space at the top of their company page where they can place messages, ads or speak to their customers as they choose. They also have access to aggregated results, as I mentioned. A company can also “sponsor a category” and have targeted banner ads and a stronger presence within that category.
Like Marc, I have been frustrated by poor customer service. It is an area that I have long had a passion about. I used to write the president of the company. Now I can still do that but through a site that allows others to see what I say and yet allows the company a chance to respond. I like the two-way nature of MeasuredUp and the efforts they are taking to have fair content. In this way it goes beyond what I have seen on many rating sites.
Marc also writes the MeasuredUp blog that covers both general customer service issues and what is going on at MeasuredUp. The key for the site will be volume and I wish them luck as I think they have a good set of features and business model.