Start Up Spotlight: UserVoice

April 11, 2009
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I had the pleasure yesterday to spend some time chatting with Marcus Nelson (@marcusnelson) of e2.0 start up UserVoice. 

So in the simplest terms, what if, as a product / marketing manager you could have access to fast feedback direct from your customers that provided prioritized and actionable ideas to improve your products? What would that be worth in both increased sales and increased customer loyalty? 
Often today, in our information saturated world, the problem isn’t getting feedback, but instead getting feedback in a way that it can be aggregated, managed and responded to in a reasonable fashion. Many of the current methods like email, forums, focus groups and forums simply don’t meet the needs effectively. Either the cost is too high, it’s hard to aggregate and manage or it doesn’t scale. 
In addition we’ve learned from Web 2.0 that there are two simple but very powerful principals that can be applied here to provide much better returns; crowdsourcing and wisdom of crowds.
 Add to these principals the SaaS or cloud computing model with its high ROI, faster implementation at lower costs, ease of use, etc. and you have UserVoice.
UserVoice provides companies with an online “forum”

I had the pleasure yesterday to spend some time chatting with Marcus Nelson (@marcusnelson) of e2.0 start up UserVoice. 

So in the simplest terms, what if, as a product / marketing manager you could have access to fast feedback direct from your customers that provided prioritized and actionable ideas to improve your products? What would that be worth in both increased sales and increased customer loyalty? 
Often today, in our information saturated world, the problem isn’t getting feedback, but instead getting feedback in a way that it can be aggregated, managed and responded to in a reasonable fashion. Many of the current methods like email, forums, focus groups and forums simply don’t meet the needs effectively. Either the cost is too high, it’s hard to aggregate and manage or it doesn’t scale. 
In addition we’ve learned from Web 2.0 that there are two simple but very powerful principals that can be applied here to provide much better returns; crowdsourcing and wisdom of crowds.
 Add to these principals the SaaS or cloud computing model with its high ROI, faster implementation at lower costs, ease of use, etc. and you have UserVoice.
UserVoice provides companies with an online “forum” (custom designed or white labeled) to allow a companies customers to post ideas for improvements to products and services in a pubic and transparent way and then collect votes and feedback from the rest of the companies audience to prioritize the submitted ideas.
 This transparent model draws customers through the interaction and can create customer advocates. With easy access to the UserVoice data, companies can export and manage / analyze in a variety of tools. 
The concept, of course is not new, Salesforce.com Ideas does something similar and was used over the last year for three high profile projects: 
1. The Obama transition team’s Citizens Briefing Book,
 2. Dell’s Ideastorm and 
3. MyStarbucksIdeas.
So how is going with their public beta? To date they’ve seen >35% growth with over 13,000 organizations represented and 30% of paid accounts from referrals.
 They operate in a tiered “freemium” model with tiers ranging from small biz and start ups, medium size biz and enterprise / Fortune 500 and internal focus to combined internal / external models. Pricing ranges from $19/month to $2000/month and includes a free trial period. 
And the UserVoice team is a believer in e2.0, driving most of their growth through Twitter (over 600 referrals), viral referrals (>35% of all sales leads) and customer pull.As a part of a e2.0 social CRM initiative UserVoice provides a key “listening” channel that compliments information channels like blogs and conversation channels like Twitter. UserVoice’s product is already a robust offering and they have an aggressive roadmap to add features in the near term like Twitter integration, mobile, additional analytics and profiles.