Thursday, March 01, 2007

Advent invests $5m in Fizzback Series A

Both Robin and Fred have covered Frederic Court at Advent's recent investment in Fizzback, a company which offers instant-feedback to businesses direct from customers.

At a time when customers are one click away from a competitor, understanding what your customers think and giving them an easy and transparent way to communicate with your business in more important than ever.

There has been a lot of sound and fury over the years about CRM and it amazes me that for all the investments companies have made, very few have materially changed or improved how they serve their customers.

Fizzback does something very smart: they use a device which increasingly everyone has (mobile) to give consumers the ability to give instant feedback on real-world, offline customer experiences. They've quietly been building a great business with some serious national brands in UK, giving managers both a quantitative and qualitative real-time view on customers' feelings.

As Fred points out, the end-game here is likely to be a combination of online and real-world intelligence. There are a number of players online who are active in this customer opinion space - including Reevoo in the UK and Bazaarvoice in the US.

One thing is for sure, the web and mobile gives brands more opportunities than ever to listen to and engage in conversations their customers -- through forums, blogs, wiki and even digg-style opinion forums.

Mining your own customer-media as well as the blogosphere and web for consumer insight is part of the future of customer service, our community guru Jaanus Kase really worked hard at this at Skype and I think there is no doubt that many smart brands will be the early adopters of these services and win loyal customers as a result.

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