We talked to Ken Rapp, Co-founder and CEO of Blustream about after-sale customer engagement solution and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ken Rapp: Staying careful, safe, and as flexible as possible in support of our community and the greater fight against this very difficult situation. We are grateful to friends and family who are front-line workers, the true superheroes of the pandemic. And personally, I’m proud of colleagues in science who have moved mountains to commercialize vaccines in record time that will save millions of people worldwide.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Blustream.
Ken Rapp: I’m passionate about marrying unmet needs with practical solutions to create value for customers. At Blustream, we identified an acute unmet need — the lack of a direct value-added after-sale connection/channel between companies and their customers. COVID-19 catalyzed a seismic shift in retail, creating an urgent need for company-consumer relationships and brand survival.
Blustream was originally founded by my colleague Bob Bean during a cold, dry New England winter when his beloved Taylor guitar got a crack due to low humidity. He was beside himself for not taking better care of it. He wished his guitar could have “talked” to him to tell him what it needed — and thus, Blustream was born.
We are now helping consumer product companies build lasting after-sale connections with their customers using product lifecycle touchpoints to create excellent customer experiences.
How does Blustream innovate?
Ken Rapp: Blustream is a SaaS-based customer engagement company that helps companies build after-sale connections to their consumers through their products. Our platform uses internet-based source data to trigger perfectly-timed education, alerts and purchase recommendations by connecting after-sale product lifecycle events to company content.
We help companies to create personalized after-sale product touchpoints with an end-to-end solution that brings products to life. With Blustream’s Platform, Brands develop amazing customer experiences that equate directly to business benefits including doubling revenue with opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell, increasing customer retention, securing excellent customer satisfaction scores, and tripling lifetime value.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ken Rapp: We’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate many successes during the pandemic, including announcing our three million dollar seed round to power the brand-customer relationship and fuel digital transformation efforts for consumer products companies. COVID-19 has shifted the underpinnings of Retail forever. Blustream’s Platform enables a direct value-added connection between companies and their customers, improving retention, increasing revenues, and driving up lifetime value. We’re ecstatic to be at the forefront of this revolution.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ken Rapp: Yes. In March 2020, the entire Blustream team moved to work remotely. This decision directly affects the Worcester, MA area community. Pre-Pandemic, the streets, restaurants, theatres were all bustling with a renaissance feel. But for the time being, the company remains diligent in assuring the safety of all our employees. We look forward to being part of the rebuild process in the city.
How do you project yourself and your company in the future?
Ken Rapp: We see incredible potential to create unique product touchpoints for physical products across industries, from plants and pets to musical instruments and even food/bev. Many companies have the knowledge and materials at their fingertips to help their customers throughout an after-sale product’s lifecycle. However, they don’t have an engine to share this content with their customers when they need it. With Blustream, we provide that engine, allowing companies to send product touchpoints to their customers at every stage of a product’s lifecycle, improving retention and increasing both company revenues and customer lifetime value.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ken Rapp: While post-sale customer service has been the norm, many companies lose out on the opportunity to engage customers outside of a customer service inquiry. We’ve found that customer service is only one piece of the after-sale customer experience puzzle. For every customer that reaches out to your customer service team, there are thousands of other unengaged customers that companies have no way of connecting with.
With Blustream’s Platform, companies have a direct connection with their customers at exactly the right time, transforming disengaged customers into brand advocates who purchase additional products and services and tell their friends.
Your final thoughts?
Ken Rapp: We are filling the gap in the twenty-billion-dollar customer experience management market with the first-ever platform that provides companies with a personalized after-sale connection between physical products and customers. We’re truly excited about what the future holds for Blustream.
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