Local pair’s invention helps businesses get better feedback

Michael Vanderslice, left, and Kevin Berk show off their ServiceGuru kiosk at a Pita Jungle. The kiosk gives patrons a chance to immediately rate customer service in less than half a minute. (Pablo Robles/AFN Staff Photographer)

A pair of Valley entrepreneurs is helping businesses get a better idea of the quality of their customers service — and giving customers a more detailed and efficient way to rate it.

Kevin J. Berk of Scottsdale and Michael Vanderslice of Ahwatukee own the startup ServiceGuru, developing an app and now a kiosk that can be parked inside or outside retail or service establishments to capture customer feedback while the patrons’ experience is still fresh in their mind.

“When we developed and launched the kiosk version of ServiceGuru, customers instantly gravitated towards using the kiosk in a huge way.” Said Vanderslice, the company’s chief operating officer.

Co-founder Berk, chief executive officer, said the same results are being obtained by Pita Jungle and Someburros, which also have signed on for kiosks.

In every instance we saw a dramatic increase of customer feedback,” Berk said.

Their app and kiosks mark something of a career departure for both men, although they still keep a hand in other ventures.

Berk is a former money manager who also owns a rock-climbing gym and manages guest relations for Pita Jungle and Riot Hospitality Group. Vanderslice owned and sold a healthcare IT company and currently owns a healthcare reputation management company. He also served as COO for MyGuy Referrals and held the same position for Geeks On Call.

Berk, who holds a psychology degree from Arizona State University, and Vanderslice, who got his business administration degree from Penn State University, pivoted to the kiosks after first launching ServiceGuru as an app.

“After testing it in the marketplace with several customers, we realized the friction with getting customers/patients to leave feedback for employees,” Vanderslice said. “We only market and support the kiosk. However, we do offer managed services where we will respond to online reviews for businesses:

Their product stands out among the various online review sites “by going deeper than anyone else on a customer’s shopping, service or dining experience,” Beck said.

“We offer many other features and benefits that are much broader as well — collect customer contact info for marketing, mitigate negative online reviews, get more positive reviews online, survey questions, etc.,” he added.

While “we are both deeply passionate about what we are doing,” they split up their duties.

“I tend to be the more animated and excited one and love talking about customer service, quoting statistics, etc.,” Berk said. “Mike makes the machine work, is super organized and detail oriented. We don’t exist without Mike.”

The kiosks work in a broad range of businesses, including restaurants, healthcare, family entertainment, hardware/retail, hospitality and even pet boarding.

“We are focused on marketing to healthcare and restaurants as we have businesses that use our kiosk, obtaining incredible data from customers,” Berk said.

The initial ServiceGuru concept was created by Kevin and Anil Jain, though Berk and Vanderslice developed the kiosk version with the help of Jonathan Cottrell.

They got their idea after realizing businesses needed a better platform to get customer reviews.

“We don’t want customers/patients to rate/review just the business and customer service as an area of the business, we want them to rate YOU, the employee on the service YOU provide, because you are the business,” Beck explained. “As employees start to see their ratings/reviews come in, they see exactly how the customer feels about their service.”

The kiosk goes right at the exit any business with foot traffic but also has been used at conventions, events and “anywhere owners and operators want feedback quickly,” Berk said.

“You can have the kiosk just allow the customer/patient to just rate their visit, or just the staff or both. It can be setup in a retail environment to allow customers to tell you if they were helped by someone, if they didn’t need help or if nobody offered help and then corresponding questions dependent on how those questions are answered,” Berk said.

The data is immediately available, even triggering emails when a new set of data has been entered.

The pair’s clients have been “overwhelmingly positive” about the devices, Beck said.

“Pita Jungle has seen a very big impact,” he said. “Not only are they getting 52 times more feedback on our kiosk versus all other review sites combined. Their online reviews on Yelp and Google are higher than the locations not using the kiosk.”

They also have a patent pending on an app called Service Resume, which enables patrons to even rate individual employees.

That and other features drew rave reviews from FinancesOnline, a business rating site, which noted the pair’s invention not only enables businesses “to discover the root cause of (customers’) dissatisfaction and resolve them quickly and quietly” but also gives them a chance to “instantly publish positive reviews and use them as marketing tools to attract more customers.”

That’s what the pair says they’re aiming for.

“Our primary focus is improving customer service,” Berk said. “And no one gets as granular as we do.”

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