Review sites are great in that they provide consumers more information to make an informed decision, but they can also unfairly tarnish a company’s reputation. With this in mind, it is important than when researching healthcare, you have access to the most accurate and unbiased reviews possible. Introducing Rivews, the online reputation management solution for medical facilities, providing the most accurate method of rating healthcare facilities. The company’s founder, Yasir Ali, a winner of the NYU $200K Challenge in 2014 is jumping into his second startup and is looking to change how we choose our healthcare.
AlleyWatch chatted with Yasir Ali about the product and how founding MedTimers has jump-started his career and where his latest venture if going.
Tell us about the company, product and service.
Before diving into the functionality of our platform, we always love doing justice to our company by identifying the existing problem. We – like other healthcare executives – are noticing a recent shift-taking place in healthcare, and it’s primarily due to the saturation of the market. Healthcare has become so saturated that for every two restaurants, you’ll find a healthcare practice. This means that healthcare providers have to go beyond just providing access to care, but must also focus on quality of care, online reputation and patient experience. Though access to healthcare has become easier for patients, competing in this now retailed orientated market has become a challenge for healthcare practices, providers and companies.
With nearly 92% of consumers reading online reviews, healthcare facilities today must prioritize instant feedback to see what patients are saying post check-out, to prevent the tarnish of their brands and reputation.
We are Rivews – a next generation patient experience and online reputation survey platform for healthcare companies. Our text-messaging capability incorporates reputation management that empowers facilities to gain competitive advantages in this new healthcare landscape, by enabling facilities to:
- Instantly collect patient feedback — with an average response rate of nearly 45%
- Turn positive experiences into marketing instruments – providing the fastest growth of online ratings
- Identify negative concerns at the point of occurrence to improve patient retention rates
- And, utilize internal satisfaction scores to identify review trends
We want to empower facilities to have the ability of knowing what their patients are saying immediately upon checkout in the most efficient way possible. Instead of facilities utilizing outdated email surveys or having patients fill-out paper surveys, Rivews offers a simple and intuitive platform to sends patients a one-step text-message survey. With an average response rate of nearly 45% – exponentially higher than current systems – Rivews not only creates operational efficiency by cutting time associated with feedback collection, but also enables healthcare facilities to collect more feedback than ever to build and protect their reputation and brand.
Once a patient receives the 1 to 5 star text-message survey, a positive experience is utilized to improve online brand reputation and local SEO ranking, and negative reviews are instantly filtered to enable facilities to identify negative experiences and improve patient retention rates at the point of occurrence.
When healthcare companies think reputation and patient experience, Rivews is the company.
How is it different?
There are far too many outdated and multi-industry targeting companies, like DemandForce, which are platforms tailored to other industries as well. Our platform was specifically founded to meet the demands of healthcare. Rivews not only creates ease and efficiency in operations but also aggregates internal satisfaction scores to go beyond just online reputation, unlike current tools.
We provide internal review scores to enable facilities to track their daily patient satisfaction scores. Our goal is to ultimately replace previous survey methods while maintaining the aggregation of internal satisfaction scores and data. And, this is something our competitors don’t focus on because of their need to meet the demands of other non-healthcare markets, thus generally their focus is solely online reputation and review scores. Rivews aims to provide more than just improvement of online brand, but also to empower facilities to improve quality of care.
Most major customer experience and online reputation companies also send patients an additional link to collect feedback; we maintain our entire dialogue through text-message and enable facilities to seamlessly collect reviews without having patients go through an additional step. We did not want to create a barrier for patients to provide feedback by having them click an additional link to respond with their scores. Maintaining the dialogue entirely through text-message, allows for our response rate to be higher which in return means more data, better brand reflection as it comes off less begging for reviews, and more traction — as our company also provides the fastest growth of online ratings.
Also, we’ve noticed that a lot of major companies – such as DemandForce – have agendas of driving traffic to their own review pages instead of improving overall brand reputation on major review sites (e.g. Google, Yelp, etc.). We assume these companies drive traffic to their own sites in hopes of building their own consumer review site. Today, there are far too many unfulfilled promises that we’d like to fill-in. Rivews send reviews where they matter the most.
Lastly, because current tools on the market are tailored to other industries, their process for implementation meets the demands of every other industry as well; thus, this means that ease associated with usage isn’t as seamless because the operational structure isn’t tailored solely to healthcare.
Rivews is one solution. Fit just for healthcare. Focused on the patient experience and reputation demands of healthcare.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
As emphasized above, our focus is healthcare. The primary healthcare markets that we’re looking to dominate include urgent cares, dentists, dermatologists and physician practices. In the US, there are approximately:
- 11,000 urgent cares
- 125,000 dental firms (ADA – 2012)
- 230,187 physician practices; 53% of which are only 1 office-based physician (SK&A)
- 7,800 dermatology practices (Harris Williams & Co. – 2013)
What is the business model?
Rivews is a SaaS web-based application with a monthly subscription tailored to meet every healthcare industry, from urgent care to dental.
What inspired the business?
The idea came about from our previous startup called MedTimers that gained a ton of traction in the startup space from NYU News to Entrepreneur. It started when Taufiqur Ashrafy (VP of Engineering), Kowsar Ahmed (CTO) and I were scaling MedTimers – a self-scheduling appointment platform for urgent cares. Within the platform, we had incorporated a post appointment survey text-message. As we up-sold MedTimers to urgent care centers, we repeatedly noted that prospective clients raved about the review text-message survey.
During our sales cycle, we were able to safely assume that the incorporation of text message to instantly collect patient feedback and online review generation was a strong fit for health care companies, especially urgent cares.
Considering that today’s healthcare market is transitioning into a retail landscape, we believed our text-message survey addressed a specific need for improvement in brand reputation. And, after a couple more months into our sales cycle, the demands stacked up and we made the move to launch Rivews in July of 2016.
Your company functions completely remotely. Tell us about that and how do you manage that process?
Yes, it’s very surprising; in the 8-months of our success since founding, our team has yet to entirely meet together. But, this hasn’t been a determining factor for our successes and communication. Today, we’re at nearly $9,000 of monthly recurring revenue. And, we consider ourselves a fast growing NYC startup. Considering all this has been accomplished within 8-months of founding, Rivews provides a valid case study showing the viability of teams efficiently working remotely.
We’re strong advocators for working remotely, especially at an early stage. It undoubtedly cuts down on time associated with commutes that could genuinely be utilized for work; the 2 to 3 hours daily that we’d spend for commuting and getting settled adds up to nearly 20-hours per week associated with commuting. Now that’s a lot of time taken away from work.
When we first started the company, most of us still had obligations and then immediately as we began scaling, we found ourselves more and more engaged for communication through technology with tools such as UberConference, FaceTime, WhatsApp and more importantly the phone. Till this day, everyone on the team mutually agrees that working remotely has created a lot of efficiency in our lives and at work, from Daniel Singman our Chief Sales Officer to Bobby Lauterjung our VP of Sales out in California, who recently jumped on-board. Overall, working remotely thus far has enabled us to maintain a strong work-life balance and allowed us to contribute far more hours than we’d have to do with daily commuting, and, plus, we’ve saved a ton of money – which is very crucial at an early stage – that would have been dedicated to a co-work space.
Though this doesn’t mean we don’t plan on getting an office after raising capital, we still believe that employees should have flexibility of working from home if preferred, especially if it propels their traction. We acknowledge that employees – especially sales reps – have their own work personalities and we find it very important to create a company culture where we are accepting of this idea.
Working remotely also enables companies to capture talent from all over the country, and at an early stage this means co-founder don’t have to be limited to scale their company through just the vicinity of just their geographical location. Bobby, our first employee, is a prime example for this; working out of California, Bobby’s background of having worked at PatientPop, ZocDoc, and DoctorBase, made him a very strong candidate and talent to be part of our early team.
And, we’re sure a lot of individuals and entrepreneurs would advocate for this!
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
In the next 6-months, we aim to collectively drive and ramp up sales. We’re looking to replicate our previous successes again and keep reiterating that process. Along with sales, we’re also perpetually improving our product to better address industry problems and become the leading healthcare survey platform.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
One piece of startup advice that I’ve never gotten is that an idea, venture and startup may not exactly transform into how you planned it to be from the start, thus it’s very critical to be open-minded and calculated in opportunities that may arise from your initial focus; part of this means to never limit yourself at an early stage and always be accepting of new ideas. Commitment to a single idea is very important but at a super early stage I believe being open-minded is equally as important.
For example, we started MedTimers as a wait time publishing idea, it immediately transformed into a patient flow management solution and then, lastly, we engineered it into a self-scheduling solution. Upon interaction with clients, we were able to identify that there was a bigger need that we had to address – reputation and customer experience.
If we were not willing to accept change and be open minded to newer problems and opportunities at an early stage, I genuinely believe that we would have hit a roadblock and would not be here today.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
At the moment, we are looking to raise our first round of funding. Everything thus far has been entirely hard work and sweat, and we haven’t raised a single round and neither do we hold any debt. We’re very open to dialogues with market (healthcare) or finance oriented investors who believe in our product and want to dominate the healthcare space. Right now, we’re very much open to meet a wide variety of investors.
Our goal for 2017: raise at least a $1,000,000.
Why did you launch in New York?
The very most obvious reason is that our co-founders are all New York Yorkers. Second, we never really found a need to re-locate because the phone enables us to acquire clients all over the country and that’s one of the beauties of scaling startups today. And, plus, New York is a healthcare hub; with so many healthcare sectors being overly saturated, it’s a very good area for us to dominate. And, that is why a large percentage of our clients today are from the Tri-State Area.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
My favorite restaurant in the city would have to be Honest Burgers. One – obviously because the food is very good; the classic burger with truffle fries are amazing. Two – because it has organic ingredients. Three – because it’s in a very convenient location on MacDougal street near NYU campus. And, four – being less than a year-old small business, it deserves local-business.