Customer Voice - Helping hotels get it right

27 November 2013

How was your stay, sir?

As anyone running a business knows – ignore customer feedback at your peril. That’s why, when law graduate Teodor Hilhor founded Customer Voice in October 2010, he felt pretty confident.

Guest book

The company has developed a userfriendly tablet-based application to collect and collate customer feedback quickly and easily, with minimum hassle for both business and customer. Teodor explained, “Our application lets people leave immediate feedback, on-site, removing the need for follow-up emails. And it’s much easier to manage than a paperbased questionnaire, for both parties.”

A helping hand

But unfortunately, by May 2012, Customer Voice was struggling. Then, while mingling with like-minded entrepreneurs at a UCL-based networking event, Teodor came across the UCL Advances student consultancy service. “It just sounded right for me,” he said, “so I approached them with my issue, and they gathered a team of four students.”

Light bulb moment

The student consultants, Mathini Ilancheran (MSc Management 2012), Andre Samuel (MSc Management 2012), Phillip Wesche (PhD Structural and Molecular Biology 2015), and Syed Hassan (BSc Economic 2013) set to work on some thorough market research.

Then came the big surprise: the research pointed to a fundamental flaw in the business plan – the target market. Teodor had been trying to sell his product to beauty salons and hairdressers. “But the findings showed that salons want to build personal relationships with their customers,” he said. “Bringing in tablets to gather comments wasn’t going to work.”

Instead, the team had uncovered a whole new target market, in which the customer is king: the hospitality industry. Teodor explained: “Hotels loved the idea. As well as offering a simple, streamlined alternative to the standard customer survey, Customer Voice helps hotels improve their TripAdvisor ratings, which are closely correlated to sales. Because it’s so easy to paste comments into TripAdvisor, it’s far more likely that people will do it.”

Credit to the consultants

Teodor is extremely complimentary about the UCL student consultants, “They definitely exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I suppose I expected confirmation that what we were doing was roughly right. But the market research they completed was so convincing, I changed my entire company focus.”

“Thanks to UCL Advances consultancy, I’m feeling really positive about the future of Customer Voice.”

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