Interview with Dan Barton, CEO of Rodio

What led to Rodio becoming its own company?

DB: Phobio’s experience with providing trade-in for retailers revealed the real challenge that large companies with staff dispersed nationwide have with effective and actionable communication. As technologists, Phobio began developing a solution for the problem. We workshopped it with our retail partners and that solution became the initial iteration of Rodio.

Our first major client, MarketSource, expanded our perspective beyond technology and dramatically improved our empathy and understanding of the needs in this space. MarketSource was invaluable in their feedback and suggestions from, and direct access to, their field teams. This helped us improve Rodio’s utility and user-experience, and adjust our strategy leading us to combine communications and unification of field-facing systems to empower a company’s front-line. Rodio quickly grew into something much more important than we originally envisioned.

As Rodio transitioned from an internal project to a self-sustaining entity, and pursued partnerships with premier work force management companies like Kronos, it became clear to us that Rodio needed to be independent to realize its full potential. It’s new management team remains close to Phobio, but has a laser-focus on their own “why” – to engage and empower the remote, field worker and to support its clients’ execution of their communication and execution goals.

In your opinion, how big is the total addressable market for a workforce communication platform like Rodio?

DB: When we think of our addressable market, we focus on companies that share a common need: connecting remote workforces to each other, and to “HQ,” in a perpetual and meaningful way. We look for attributes like company size, service of hundreds or thousands of remote locations, employees who often travel between multiple locations, and diverse, multi-generational workforces needing a universally accessible platform to connect on. These attributes are ideally concentrated in the retail, franchises, hospitality, healthcare and staffing industries. In the US alone, our attribute “filter” yields over 4,000 ideal companies meeting a very narrow profile. This represents a great opportunity, but certainly not the total TAM, for Rodio. In short, tens of millions of employees like these would benefit greatly from solutions designed specifically for them (like Rodio!).

What makes Rodio stand out from the crowd?

DB: Rodio delivers a simple and intuitive chat experience to teams and managers while giving administrators specific tools to maintain control and keep an organization constantly informed, in real-time. We strive to make on-boarding seamless and to make driving adoption effortless so companies can maximize their ROI in the platform.

Beyond communications, however, Rodio sets itself apart by unifying access to the other field-facing systems utilized by their customers. Companies invest heavily in HR, scheduling, training, helpdesk and performance management systems for their front-line teams. They want the best-in-class tools for their employees, but this creates a fragmented user experience which is complicated by the challenges of communicating about these systems to remote employees. Rodio utilizes several integration strategies to unify access to other work systems within the communication platform. If we can help our customers drive adoption of their other field-facing system investments, via their communication strategy, we can further maximize the benefits of Rodio. Equally important, we can further support and empower the employee. Finally, this allows Rodio to pursue strategic alliances and integrations with other software providers. Instead of building new features from scratch, Rodio can focus on our core competency and integrate with a partner who already provides best-in-class functionality.

Can you help readers visualize how Rodio would fit in their current environment?

DB: Rodio is ideal for dispersed workers. So, if you were a retail sales associate, you would have the Rodio app installed on your phone. When you are “on-the-clock” you would receive bulletins, news and/or surveys intended to keep you informed of what’s important (e.g. policies, promotions, recalls, safety, acknowledgements, events, etc). You would also be constantly connected to peers, experts and leadership by messaging or even voice (without revealing your phone number) or video. As you go through your daily routine, you are surrounded by constant support, encouragement and expertise to help you succeed.

Let’s say a customer comes into your store whose primary language is not English. In a few taps, you can reach out to your network for someone who can support this customer and connect with them to make sure that customer has a positive experience. Or perhaps you are new to the Point of Sale system and are struggling with a complex transaction while a customer waits… you can reach out for help in real-time and resolve the issue quickly.

During some quiet time in your store, you may access your company’s learning management system to brush up on product knowledge, or their rewards and recognition system to cash in on your recent successes (which are likely greater than your last role because you are surrounded by information and support to help you succeed).

When your shift ends, you are notified that you no longer need to be accessible in Rodio and are reminded of your company’s policies regarding off-hours communications.

In short, you go to work every day feeling confident that you can navigate any opportunity or challenge that may occur because you are always connected to the right people, information, and systems at the right time.

What key verticals does Rodio plan on targeting?

DB: Retail, which inspired the creation of Rodio, will always be a core focus. As mentioned above, the direct correlation between remote employee effectiveness and overall impact on a company’s brand and customer satisfaction make it an ideal industry for us. We are also targeting similar needs and applications in franchise operations, hospitality and short-term staffing.

Further, the area of Home Healthcare Services is growing rapidly with very specific needs for mobile workforce management. Labor shortages, increasing demand for services, changing regulatory requirements (e.g. Electronic Visit Verification or “EVV”), and a need to stay connected to mobile caregivers are creating a great opportunity for a platform like Rodio to be of value. As such, Rodio has integrated with key partners of ours to provide a complete home healthcare work management solution called FieldCentric (www.fieldcentric.com).

Who specifically can benefit from using Rodio? What industries?

DB: Rodio seeks to make the most impact in the retail, franchise, hospitality, staffing and home healthcare industries.

As for who can benefit from Rodio:

  • Employees who are on the front-line and are responsible for serving a company’s customers.
  • Customers who are served by company’s who proactively connect, support and empower their employees.
  • Companies who depend on successful front-line employees and satisfied customers for their sales, operational efficiencies, retention and brand loyalty.

How does Rodio fit in the landscape of other communication platforms and software?

DB: We view the landscape of traditional communications platforms in three categories: email, friends and family applications (e.g. groupme, messenger), and office productivity applications (e.g. slack, teams). These platforms all have their own strengths and appropriate applications, with the exception being email perhaps. While email is still the most widely used, it is the least effective, most abused and easiest to ignore communication medium available to companies.

We believe that Rodio sits outside of these platforms as we are focused exclusively on the remote, dispersed, mobile and/or field worker. We strive to address the unique challenges of the jobs they do and their accessibility, and the need for a different approach to messaging and communication in the organizations that rely on their engagement and performance for their success.

Can you remind readers where they can find you online or where to contact your team if they have any questions?

DB: You can find out more about Phobio trade-in and contact us at: www.phobio.com

You can check out demos and learn more about Rodio at: www.rodio.app

And for more information on FieldCentric for Home Healthcare, visit: www.fieldcentric.com

Dan Barton
CEO of Rodio Inc.

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