Ghanaian Startup Leverages Social Media For Better Customer Service

Written by Steven J. Smith

Anyone who has been put on hold and subjected to long minutes of canned music while waiting to resolve a customer service issue will appreciate Nevahold, a Ghana-based service that uses social media to help customers hold companies accountable.

Here’s how it works. Via Nevahold’s website, frustrated customers can send a “shout” to the offending company’s social media contact, then wait 30 minutes for a response. The shout might include photos, videos, or even a simple comment. If the company fails to respond, Nevahold’s legion of advocates then retweet and share the shout to elicit a response. If the company still remains silent, the shout is shared on all of Nevahold’s 12 social media channels which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, FriendFeed, and more.

In addition, Nevahold delivers each company a customer service score based on response rates and times. The score helps customers see how various companies compare with one another for customer service. There is also a campaign feature consumers can use to lobby for a change in a company’s services or policies. The site can also be used to send shouts of praise for a company that has performed exceptionally well.

Nevahold co-founder Kena Amoah said the company’s goal is to use the “strength-in-numbers” approach to speed up sluggish customer service response time.

“Nevahold allows consumers to crowdsource their social media accounts to harness their power and increase their influence when reaching out to a company,” Amoah said.

During its beta-testing phase Nevahold helped resolve about 24,000 questions and complaints in consumer electronics, airline and wireless industries, generating a response rate of over 91 percent, Amoah said.

Understanding and responding to customers and their problems could be the most important factor in a business’ success, he said.

“The main reason for collecting information about customers is to improve the quality of the service you provide, hence it gains their loyalty,” he said. “A business cannot survive without making ongoing efforts to better understand customer needs, making customer care the number one priority of every business.”

Nevahold is a startup springing from the Meltwater School of Technology, which invested $90,000 in the venture. Meltwater has offices in 27 countries with global headquarters in San Francisco. Its nonprofit training and mentoring program helps Africans to become software entrepreneurs.

Nevahold’s competitors include Gripevine, and Publikdemand. Amoah said he believes there is room for all of them.

“Customer service is broken, and we believe it can be better,” he said. “At Nevahold, we are committed to doing just that with a simple, fast and intuitive web application that helps consumers get the support they deserve. We are passionate about great customer service and we’re building tools that help businesses provide the best experiences for their customers.”