ThriveHive Upgrades Grader Product with Conversational UI, Brings David Mihm Aboard

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Just one month after ThriveHive released a product to help small business owners navigate the creation and maintenance of their Google My Business profiles, the company is making some substantial changes to its diagnostic solution. ThriveHive’s Grader will now integrate with the conversational user interface of the company’s Perch app, paving the way for Grader to become more than just a static report.

Today’s announcement coincides with another new development at ThriveHive. David Mihm, the local search expert and founder of the email newsletter platform Tidings—also a frequent Street Fight contributor—is stepping into the role of vice president of product strategy, hoping to further establish ThriveHive as a force in the digital marketing space.

Mihm says ThriveHive’s decision to launch Grader last month, prior to the Perch integration, was part of the classic software practice of getting a product into the wild as early as possible to allow for market validation and testing.

“We’re leveraging some of the newer features of the Google My Business API and wanted to make sure we had those dialed in before integrating a more conversational interface,” he says.

Although the Grader has been successful in providing businesses with insights on how they can improve their Google My Business profiles, the solution does have the potential to become overwhelming. Businesses are provided with long checklists of items to complete—for example, a classic checklist might include items like “Add an interior photo,” “Upgrade categories,” and “Run a promotion.” These lists can grow unruly, and there was some concern that businesses might get so overwhelmed that they never get around to actually taking the recommended steps. By integrating Perch’s conversational interface, Mihm says ThriveHive has the opportunity to make an existing product even more useful.

Perch is an application originally made by the technology firm Closely, which small business owners can use to keep up on social media and review activity. The application was added to the ThriveHive roster when the company acquired Closely and appointed Closely’s founder, Perry Evans, as chief product officer in November 2017. Evans was eventually named president of ThriveHive in July.

With thousands of businesses having had success monitoring and learning from their reviews and social presence within the Perch app, Mihm says ThriveHive is using what it’s learned from how those businesses engage to help them increase their performance within Google My Business.

ThriveHive’s data science team is also taking advantage of the data it has been able to collect from tens of thousands of customers, across hundreds of locations and industries, to find strategic ways to better serve the small business community.

Although Google does its best to offer some of this help within the Google My Business dashboard, Mihm says the reality is there are too many new features for businesses to process on their own. With a conversational interface, ThriveHive can break down its recommendation checklists in a more approachable, digestible manner.

“We’ve seen real enthusiasm for this paradigm among customers—hearing business owners’ reactions in our testing videos has been totally inspiring,” Mihm says.

What’s most important, explains Mihm, is that this new integration allows ThriveHive to extend the value of its Grader product on a more lasting basis.

“There’s so much we can do to help a local business once they authenticate their Google My Business account,” he says. “That authentication enables us to monitor their performance and message them with encouragement if we see things they’re doing well, and check in with them if we see areas where they can improve their presence.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.