These days, consumers increasingly turn to social media and online rating platforms when a service or a product has let them down. Yet the outcomes tend to be far from optimal.
Too often the issues are never solved, as they may not reach the company in question. And even if firms deal with the complaints, the original one-star reviews tend to stay online and continue hurting the firms’ reputation.
This is where No No No comes in.
“Our service fills the gap between consumers and companies: we allow consumers to file their complaints in a way that reaches the companies and also give the companies a fair opportunity to respond,” says founder and CEO Jaakko Timonen.
The secret ingredient is that No No No’s users do not issue ratings when filing complaints but are only able to rate the resolutions of those complaints. “This gives the companies a real incentive to solve the issues,” Timonen says.
Promoting customer care
Timonen stresses that ultimately both consumers and companies benefit if problems are dealt with effectively: the consumer’s issue can be resolved, and the company gets to retain the customer and gets a reputation boost as it is seen to be responsive to its customers’ complaints.
“It’s entirely natural that mistakes happen. Our goal is to create a platform that rewards companies for correcting mistakes,” he says. “Instead of pointing fingers, we want to endorse companies that truly care for their customers.”
The firm has already got on the radar of some major brands: both Ikea and The Home Depot are running a pilot with No No No, where complaints through the service are given prioritised access to the companies’ customer service.
Any firm can start using No No No for free. By paying a monthly fee, they also get a licence to use the platform’s reviews, ratings and client testimonials in their marketing.
Timonen says that at a later stage No No No will be able to use the ratings data to create analytics and business intelligence services, and highlight companies that have demonstrated that consumers can trust them.
US market a natural fit
As it happens, complaining is a very culture-dependent thing. No No No encountered this early on.
“We realised that in Finland, many people feel uncomfortable about complaining to the businesses. Even if they get poor service, they worry that if they complain they will somehow hurt the company’s feelings,” Timonen says.
“But in the US, consumers think that they absolutely have the right to complain if they haven’t got what they paid for.”
Given that US consumers were also quick to find the platform, No No No is now focusing only on the American market and has an office in both New York and Tampere. Recently it was one of the 10 startups that were selected to an accelerator programme out of more than 300 applicants.
“In the US, companies have understood the value of our service much more easily,” Timonen says. “They realise that what this is really about is reputation management.”
No No No’s platform is currently in beta, but during the next six months the company aims to both launch the final version and work on identifying its product-market fit.
“The key is to have both consumers and companies on the platform.” Timonen says. “It’s the chicken and egg problem – and we have to figure out how to solve it and become a rooster!”