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How South Africa’s ‘Complaints Platform’ Became its #1 Online Review Platform for Customers and Businesses Alike

Published 2 months ago
By BrandVoice Partner | Paid Program

When Alon Rom took over as Hellopeter’s CEO in late 2014, South Africa’s customer advocacy platform was at somewhat of a crossroads. The founder had done phenomenally well establishing the platform and decided it was time to move on. As luck would have it, Alon was waiting in the wings, with inspired ideas of where it could go. 

“When I heard that Hellopeter was up for sale, I was on holiday and planning to take an extended sabbatical from my entrepreneurial days. However, this news immediately piqued my interest because I knew how much it meant to Takealot and Mr Delivery from my days of working with them. Right there and then, I committed,” Alon says.  

It was a short-lived sabbatical but the first step on a long journey toward changing a nation’s perception… 

“I tend to take my moral code rather literally. After spending the majority of my career in traditional corporate spaces, I felt the need to be involved with something that actually moved the needle in terms of adding real value to South Africans—and here we are today.” — Alon Rom, CEO of Hellopeter. 

The ‘Karen’ Conundrum 

We have to remember that the Hellopeter brand was born in a time before social media. It might only take us seconds to jump online and get our issue resolved today. However, this was not the case back then. You would have to spend hours on hold waiting for a customer service team member to finally get to you. So, consumers were frustrated, and rightly so.  

In came Hellopeter, a place where they could take their grievances and get the attention they deserved. So, of course, only negative experiences made their way to Hellopeter. However, times were changing. 

Journey from Complaints to Community  

Fast-forward to today, over seven years later, and Hellopeter is still a household name on many people’s lips. However, the narrative has started to change. South Africans still tell their stories, helping others make better-informed choices. However, with much effort in communicating to consumers the importance of sharing positive experiences, they’re not all doom and gloom.  

South Africans have started reaching for the mouse (or now, their phone) to rave about the positive experiences they’ve had. They began praising businesses too. 

Finally, people started seeing Hellopeter more like the online review platform it is and not the complaints platform it was perceived to be.  

Of course, Hellopeter will forever remain a place consumers can turn to when they need to resolve service-related issues and get the attention they deserve. The brand did not pivot and lose sight of this. Instead, it evolved, with Alon building on the already-strong foundation. 

The Birth of Hellopeter Business 

“My biggest frustration has been that most local businesses don’t yet fully understand just how much value they’re leaking by not taking their online consumer reputation seriously.” — Alon Rom, CEO of Hellopeter.

It can be very difficult to change perceptions about a brand—especially a well-known brand like Hellopeter. And even more so when it relates to other businesses’ hard-earned reputations.  

However, Alon was adamant about showing businesses that Hellopeter was not a name to make them shake in their boots. That Hellopeter is no ombudsman to fear. Instead, it was a tool that could unlock serious business growth.  

He wanted to show businesses how they could attract more customers, grow a trusted online presence, build social proof, and become more discoverable on search engines like Google—all through the simple process of actively collecting and managing reviews.  

Since then, many South African SME businesses have been waking up to the value Hellopeter can offer them.

However, the reality is that 54% of businesses are still reportedly ‘scared’ of online reviews. On the flip side, over 75% of cited businesses claim that taking their reputation management seriously correlated directly with increased sales and brand loyalty. 

“Every single sustainably successful business I’ve been a part of has had one thing in common —they embraced the customer’s success as their priority, and I saw Hellopeter as an opportunity to take that principle to the next level,” says Alon.  

So, let’s forever put the ombudsman myth to bed. The truth is that Hellopeter does not intervene between the business and the customer. They simply provide a platform where the two can come together for a solution that suits both their needs.  

A Tech-Driven Approach 

Hellopeter has blossomed into a tech company dedicated to rolling out innovative features that make the review experience easier for customers and empower businesses to actively collect, manage and publish reviews. The core value for businesses is being able to showcase their sincerity and commitment to their customers. 

Hellopeter’s AI-assisted technology makes the process seamless and vets customer reviews through a spam filter. Before, Hellopeter reviews were seen as a separate entity. However, with new advancements in technology, they’re now able to fully coexist with your other sources, such as Facebook and Google My Business, within a single platform. 

Ease of access is a priority for Hellopeter. For example, they recently rolled out a couple of exciting features, like a WhatsApp Chatbot that makes collecting and writing a review as easy as messaging friends or family on your phone. They also announced their API integration, allowing businesses to collect and respond to reviews within their existing CRM or support system.  

These exciting innovations are opening up our nation’s eyes to what Hellopeter used to be compared to where it’s heading. And it looks like the stars were aligned that day when Alon Rom signed on the dotted line. The future’s looking pretty bright for Hellopeter.  

About Hellopeter Business

Any business can sign up for a free Hellopeter Business account on biz.hellopeter.com. This unlocks all the basic features you need to actively collect and manage your online reputation.  

However, if you wish to take it a step further to really leverage your reviews and to unlock business growth, they’ve got Brand Strategy and Customer Success teams who can guide you on your journey to leveraging your reviews as a stepping stone to increased revenue. 

The Hellopeter Business portal unlocks access to features such as review invite technology, from on-site to in-store, via SMS, in-mail, QR codes or even WhatsApp. They also offer review publishing technology to show off social proof through social media ad designs to embed widgets into your website. You can also quickly and easily manage your online reputation using their review management technology and understand the online analytics behind your business compared to competitors using their competitor data and insights technology.    

Find out more on biz.hellopeter.com.  

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