Even if you think the customer may not always be right, it’s increasingly clear that people expect to be heard by the companies they buy from.


That’s where tech startup Hearsay comes into play. Marketer and customer experience expert Pip Stocks founded the venture to create a more structured and scientific approach to customer feedback and insights, having launched her first business, BrandHook, nearly 15 years ago.

She launched Hearsay, a DIY tool for market researchers to investigate customer issues, just as Victoria’s first round of pandemic lockdowns, quickly realising that beyond face-to-face discussions, she needed an online component to the platform ahead of its pilot program.

The startup has since raised $100,000 from Skalata Ventures to launch a platform built to streamline customer conversations, saving businesses months of research time and helping them avoid costly missteps.

Stocks could see the common oversights companies make when talking to customers, including too small a sample and starting the conversation with “pointy end” questions about how they feel about the brand or some other company issue.

Stocks said listening to customers and taking their voices seriously is the missing piece of the conversation.

“You can’t build a relationship if you don’t listen. Businesses need to hear their customers themselves,” she said.

“It’s not just about sending surveys or looking at your big data dashboard. It’s about being in tune with customers’ needs and want. When you don’t have these conversations with your customers and don’t have opportunities to listen to what they actually want, you’re planning to fail.”

She founded Hearsay after seeing how important those customer conversations were  to business success.

“They are the difference between a successful product launch and a business disaster, and even more successful when the business is having these conversations themselves,” she said.

Hearsay is designed to enable personal customer conversations and let businesses meet with clients face-to-face.  There is live tagging of key points, note-taking, identification of “wow” moments, conversation transcription which all help translate customer communication into real-world action.

Stocks built Hearsay to help companies recruit customers the whole process of setting up sessions is managed for you and feedback is ordered easily so answers are found quickly and cost effectively.

She said the next opportunity for companies looking to scale in 2021 is to reconnect with the human voices and listen more closely to what their customers are telling them and know when and how to act.

Skalata Ventures co-founder and CEO Rohan Workman said backing Hearsay was a natural fit for the VC and accelerator firm.

“As soon as we met Pip we were impressed by her depth of understanding of the market, her empathetic leadership and the resilience she has shown to build a great product,” he said.