Second To None Adds Plum Voice Technology to VoC portfolio to Increase Reliability and Gain Competitive Advantage

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Second To None is a leader in customer experience research and analytics. The company provides a range of mystery shopping, customer feedback survey, and compliance services that help companies measure, understand, and improve the customer experience in order to drive satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue.

Research and Analytics

Plum DEV

Surveys, Notifications

Executive Summary

Second To None, a customer experience research and analytics agency serving leading brands across North America, added telephone surveys to its portfolio of Voice of the Customer offerings. The reliability of Plum’s technology led Second To None to expand their offerings through Plum to include voice recording and SMS notifications. These additions have helped the company to both procure and retain clients, and significantly strengthened Second To None’s position as a leader in its industry.

Second To None helps Fortune 500 clients to acquire and analyze customer experience data. The company offers a range of services that includes web-based and telephone surveys. Second To None uses Plum Voice technologies to conduct telephone surveys, send SMS notifications for its web-surveys, and to record mystery shopper phone interactions.

The Problem

The problem for Second To None began with a client request. The customer wanted to utilize telephone surveys, but Second To None lacked the ability to provide that technology at the time. This led to a round of research that, according to Chris Krosnowski, Second To None’s CTO, winnowed the choice down to Plum Voice and one other company. Plum won out based on competitive pricing and because it was faster to implement. Many of Second To None’s clients operate in the retail and healthcare industries, so Plum’s PCI and HIPAA compliant platform also proved critical for clients in those respective industries.

The Solution

In 2011, when Second To None first signed on with Plum, the company opted for an on-premises Plum iOn system. Krosnowski said that getting up and running with iOn was fairly easy. Second To None built its own voice application and noted that the biggest hurdles were learning the VoiceXML code and ensuring that the company’s telephony interfaced with the Plum system. But they quickly cleared these hurdles. It helped that Second To None had a template to work from in the form of its web-based customer experience survey, and built its voice application to mirror that.

The Plum iOn system delivered the reliability that Second To None needed, but the company identified scaling as a significant challenge when using an on-site system. Working with teleco companies to add channels could take as long as four weeks to expand or contract system capacity. As a company that works with many companies in the retail industry and its predictable and unpredictable call spikes, the ability to scale to meet clients’ needs became increasingly acute. This need combined with the increasing affordability of hosted IVR and after about two years of using the on-site system, Second To None migrated to Plum’s cloud platform.

The Cloud Solution

Because Second To None migrated from one Plum system to another, the changeover was painless. It was a two-step process that started with a few changes to the code of their voice application, which only took about 5-10 minutes. The second step involved transferring control of the company’s phone lines to Plum Voice. Krosnowski noted that process, known as a RESPORG, “was extremely easy for us.” Second To None simply had to fill out the appropriate forms and Plum handled all of the backend tasks. When the phone lines switched over, all that needed to happen was to update the number to which the application pointed to the one newly under Plum’s control and then to test the application. That process took all of 30-60 minutes once the RESPORG transfer started.

Having access to Plum’s cloud environment meant that Second To None could scale its usage dynamically, allowing the company to quickly and easily accommodate client needs. “Being nimble like that puts you at a competitive edge,” said Krosnowski.

Second To None’s success using Plum led the company to expand the number and variety of tools and features offered to clients. On the heels of phone surveys, the company starting providing call recording services for clients that utilized mystery shoppers. Second To None is able to download the audio files generated from these transactions and send them directly to clients. Most recently, Second To None rolled out a SMS option that sends links to web surveys via text message.


“We deal with Fortune 500 companies with high expectations and the last thing we want to do is sell a solution to a company like that that doesn’t work. The reliability of Plum’s technology really shined for us in that respect. They’ve out-performed their SLAs.”

Chris Krosnowski, CTO, Second to None

The Results

As a company that caters to Fortune 500 clients, Second To None needed a reliable solution to drive client satisfaction and help with procurement and retention of its client base. Plum provided that reliability, first with the iOn system, and then maintained that reliability while increasing flexibility after moving to the cloud.

Krosnowski noted that using Plum allowed the company to very quickly deliver a new, high quality service to their clients without heavily investing in IT resources. The Plum solutions gave Second To None a broader portfolio of services to offer clients. The platform’s PCI and HIPAA compliance gives Second To None a competitive advantage when courting new clients that have specific security requirements. The flexibility of the cloud allows Second To None to expand and contract in a way that their competitors can’t match, giving the company another leg up with current and potential clients.