TRUSTist is a startup which enables its clients to gather real-time in-store feedback on tablets so they can gauge customer satisfaction while also improving their search visibility.

The company provides a neat solution for multichannel retailers in a world where the voice of the customer is becoming more important than ever.

We caught up with TRUSTist CEO Nigel Apperley to hear more about the proposition.  

Please describe what the company does

TRUSTist gathers customer feedback in-store at the point of sale and then uses that to get ‘location' plus 'the retailer's specialism’ (e.g. ‘used cars manchester’, ‘hotel mayfair’ or ‘vets bristol’) to the top of Google search results and at the same time provides real-time feedback for staff on their behaviour and how satisfied customers are.

What problems does it solve?

Getting to the top of Google search results is harder now than ever before. Also, in today’s multichannel world what happens in-store often finds its way online within a matter of minutes.

Often managers can be unaware that their front-line staff are not performing the way they would want them to or behaving in a way that is different to when they are around.

This innovation means that ecommerce and marketing directors now have a way of spending marketing pounds and dollars that deliver solid results quickly and helps them to enhance their internal reputation as it is truly an omnichannel solution. 

Where is the return on investment for your clients?

As well as all the good things we’ve talked about above, the real benefit is a financial one. Clients have seen increases in sales of 50% at a branch or location by location level. Typically the ROI would be in the range 50,000% to 100,000%.

One client told us that it was the best ROI they had ever seen from any source including, TV, press, SEO, PPC, Out Of Home and PR.

Can you give us an example of a client, and some details about the upside they've seen?

One client in the automotive space saw an increase in revenue of 50% across many of their branches – this is millions of pounds annually.

Negative social media mentions were down 95% and their online reputation was taken to a new level.

Is this a crowded market? 

We believe that our product is unique. We are the only people offering a solution, where the questions can be changed remotely, in order to get real-time customer feedback that can then be turned in to £££s and it can be used to get real-time customer insights that are actionable.  

We are also looking at different delivery options, such as beacons, but that’s one for later in the year!

What are your goals?

We have several – firstly to become the undisputed leader in this area of feedback/search, initially in the UK market, then Europe and the US.

We’re also keen to be environmentally friendly – so many survey and review systems rely on paper and on people’s physical presence and TRUSTist’s system does away with this. Before we started trading we were offered £100,000 for 10% of the company valuing it at £1m.

When we start prospecting in a vertical, we don’t take the approach ‘let’s sell as much as possible’, instead we can easily see where we can help businesses, so we have to be able to say to ourselves ‘we can really help this business’ before we approach them.

What are the biggest challenges you face?

Simply, getting in front of enough people quickly – once we show people the system and how it works nearly everyone signs up!

How will you make money?

Keeping the flow of reviews constant is important to customer insight teams as well as Google.

Our software is evolving in order to meet that demand, so we charge a subscription so that we are able to provide unlimited access to apps and the website and whenever we make a change to the software, all our clients benefit from it without the need for downloads.

We don’t make any money on the hardware, in fact we lose money – we’re believe so passionately in what we do that we give the hardware away as part of the deal. 

Who is in your team?

We’re a fairly small team, we have a sales office in Warrington, our CTO is based in Huddersfield and manages a growing team in Eastern Europe, Moscow and the US, and then we have three people who are on the road demonstrating the system full time, together with the usual finance and accounting functions.  

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

One year from now we’d like to have 15 enterprise-level clients in the UK and a large number of SMEs (with our solution smaller chains can take on the big boys with massive PPC budgets and still win through natural search).

In three years we’d like have 100 enterprise clients globally and in five years 500 enterprise clients globally.

Other than your own, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

We keep track of our sales and clients through Salesforce, which makes our lives a lot easier. We also use LinkedIn a lot and our sales director likes the Louis Vuitton website!

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 12 February, 2015 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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