by Christophe Primault
Published on 6 July 2010
We asked Björn Behrendt, Founder and CEO of the hiogi GmbH a few questions about his company and his view of the markets they serve.
Who are you are and what is your role at the hiogi GmbH?
I am founder and CEO of the hiogi GmbH and Service-Community.net, which is our B2B white-label SaaS for Q&A portals.
Can you briefly present your management team?
Our management team includes our CTO Martin Holbe and myself, plus our investors who act as advisers to the management team and we are close to hiring a well-known senior executive in the software industry as a chairman.
Are you a Software or a Software-as-a-Service company?
We are a SaaS company, since all our software modules for multichannel and social media dialogues can be licensed as white-labeled, hosted and fully maintained installations.
How do you use and promote usage of Cloud Computing?
We do not only leverage the cloud by using it for processing power, but we also promote Service-Community.net and hiogi.de on the web by mainly focusing on search engine optimization. In addition our crowd sourcing approach pulls answers and user generated content from various APIs and connects our solution to web-based CRM systems or other social communities such as Facebook or Twitter.
What are the points of difference of your solutions?
Our solution is multi-channel enabled, which means that our goal is to provide Q&A technology and great usability for any device and at any time. The end customers of our B2B clients can ask questions via the web, SMS, iPhone App, Facebook, Twitter, Android App, Symbian App, desktop clients, Email, Skype, widgets or simply through our mobile xhtml-portals. Our staging process and our proof of concept for any new technology we invent is very unique: First we test everything in our test environment, than we role it out on www.hiogi.de or www.hiogi.com and only after it worked well in our own knowledge community with over 40.000 members, we offer it to our B2B clients. I give you an example: Our iphone app "search genius" was No1 in the reference category of itunes for two weeks and generated 10x more questions than all other channels combined. Today 90% of all hiogi-questions are asked via an iphone or ipod touch. This convinced our B2B clients and we are currently delivering the iphone app for them as whitelabeled FAQ tools for special interest groups.
How would you like to be evaluated by a prospect?
After comparing us to our international competitors a prospect should clearly see us as the most innovative and technologically advanced provider of SaaS for Service-Communities and mobile Q&A solutions that enable customers to help themselves.
Why do your customers buy from hiogi GmbH?
Our clients license software from us, because they got to meet the great hiogi team, which is known to keep promises and to deliver state-of-the-art solutions on time.
Can you mention some of your key clients? What are you doing for them?
One of our key clients is the OTTO group which licenses a special expert forum from us for Schlafwelt branche. In addition we have installations for the Comvel group or for finalfolder.com of Andreas Gauger, the former 1&1 CEO, besides further eCommerce websites. In the next weeks we will launch a B2B support forum for a very big German telco. More on that soon…
What do you see as the key trend emerging in the service industry?
The latest studies clearly show that big corporations need to engage with the customers in open dialogues on the web and via mobile. According to the Customer Contact Council more than 50% of customers try to solve their issues online and 70% of calls to service hot-lines could have been resolved prior with better service areas on the web. The service industry is clearly in a big transition and call-center agents will increasingly act as moderators within service-communities.
What's the is THE most important message you feel you should get across to someone considering buying your solutions?
The most important message is: "ACT or otherwise the social web and customer needs will overtake you or hit you from behind. Companies often undervalue the power of the social web, ignore customer feedback and act to slow, which frustrates consumers who already use social media on a day-to-day basis and expect the same from their favorite brands."
Thanks Björn and best luck to Service-Community.net