Evan Steele – From Frustration to Innovation

The Vision Behind rater8 and Its Impact on Medical Practices

Evan Steele turned a frustrating hotel check-in into rater8, revolutionizing patient feedback in
healthcare with innovative, user-friendly solutions.

When Evan Steele encountered a frustratingly inefficient hotel check-in, he didn’t just endure it—he envisioned a solution. This pivotal moment catalysed the inception of rater8, a company that has revolutionized patient feedback in the healthcare industry. As the founder and CEO of rater8, Steele’s journey from an inconvenient hotel stay to leading a pioneering enterprise underscores his commitment to customer service, productivity, and innovative software design.

In our interview, Steele delves into the genesis of rater8, detailing the challenges of gaining traction in a sceptical market and the strategies that helped rater8 stand out. He also sheds light on rater8’s unique approach to real-time patient feedback, emphasizing the seamless integration with existing healthcare systems and the high response rates achieved through user-friendly micro-surveys.

Steele’s leadership principles are clear and compelling: prioritize eager-to-please employees, invest heavily in support teams, and always be on the lookout for exceptional talent. This ethos not only drives rater8’s internal culture but also ensures that their software remains adaptable and intuitive for medical practices of all sizes.

Throughout our conversation, Steele reflects on the delicate balance between innovation and customer service, highlighting how client feedback continually shapes rater8’s development. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is rooted in his own experiences: focus on solving specific problems better than anyone else, and build from there.

Evan Steele’s story is one of turning a personal frustration into a thriving business, demonstrating the power of resilience, strategic thinking, and unwavering dedication to improving the customer experience.

How did your negative hotel check-in experience lead to the creation of rater8, and what were the initial challenges you faced?

When my wife and I had a negative check-in experience at a hotel, the most frustrating part wasn’t the experience itself — it was the fact that there was no quick or easy way to provide feedback. That’s what planted the seed for the idea that would ultimately grow into rater8. Our platform initially focused on rating people, such as doctors and front desk staff. It later evolved to encompass the full patient experience, offering a quick and seamless way for medical practices to simultaneously bolster their online reputations and foster practice improvement.

While getting rater8 off the ground went smoothly, the primary challenge was creating a product unique enough that even skeptical healthcare executives would want to buy it. That’s why we included the ability to rate front desk staff by name, a helpful feature that no other patient feedback platform offered at the time. Additionally, because we were new and potential buyers didn’t want to take a risk on a new company, we offered a 30-day free trial to mitigate that risk. We stand by that model to this day, because we love having the opportunity to prove our value to new clients before they invest in rater8.

How does rater8’s approach to real-time patient feedback differ from traditional methods in healthcare?

When it comes to adopting automated patient feedback solutions, the healthcare industry is playing catch-up. Many medical practices are still using paper surveys, making it difficult to collate, chart, and analyze feedback, let alone garner a substantial number of responses. Signage featuring QR codes or digital surveys offered on in-house tablets aren’t much of an improvement, as both methods rely on the patient to be motivated enough to take action.

rater8 takes a proactive approach: we automatically send feedback requests via text or email to all patients immediately after checkout and we make the process fast and easy. The opportunity for patients to quickly share their experience while it’s still top of mind, combined with rater8’s integrations with all leading EHR and practice management systems, achieve the real-time patient feedback practices need.

Our ergonomic micro-surveys collect feedback on the aspects of the practice and operations that matter most to our clients. They select from a bank of 150+ healthcare-specific questions, and we automatically randomize and rotate the questions, allowing no more than 5 per patient survey while ensuring a wide range of data is captured. Our short and anonymous surveys see a 30% average response rate.

What are the core principles that guide your leadership style at rater8?

Hire eager-to-please employees (affectionately known as “ETPs”); overinvest in your support team to delight clients; and, if you come across someone who is hyper-talented, hire them and find a place for them in the company — even if they are not a match for the open position for which they are interviewing.

How do you ensure that rater8’s software remains easy to use for medical practices of varying sizes and technical capabilities?

rater8 is completely healthcare-focused and was built with scalability in mind. The platform seamlessly adapts to the varying needs of medical practices, health systems, and enterprises. Our benchmarking capabilities allow organizations of all sizes and configurations to compare the performance of their physicians, locations, departments, and even portfolio practices to one another. With 16 million data points available, users can also benchmark their performance against comparable groups nationwide, sliced by location, specialty, size, and more. Additionally, the rater8 platform includes an organizational unit subsystem that allows our enterprise clients to provide user access controls by office department, location, or provider.

Our streamlined onboarding process ensures users with different levels of technical expertise can get up and running quickly and efficiently. rater8’s integration capabilities reduce complexity and allow organizations to incorporate rater8 into their existing workflows without disrupting day-to-day operations. Further, our customer service doesn’t end after onboarding — a dedicated rater8 account manager regularly meets with each client to cover new features and discuss their feedback cultivation strategy.

How do you balance the need for innovation with maintaining a high level of customer service at rater8?

Just like practice improvement for our clients is driven by patient feedback, innovation at rater8 is driven by our clients’ feedback. By listening to our clients — whether through net promoter score surveys, our Capterra reviews, our ideas inbox, or during strategy consultations — we ensure that our product roadmap is aligned with their expectations and what they need for their organizations’ continued success.

In addition to one-on-one strategy consultations provided by rater8’s account managers, our award-winning support team is dedicated solely to addressing our clients’ needs. While we have a successful, robust platform, we invest heavily in building features that help our support team support our clients.

Our professional services team works closely with the development team to ensure uniform communication to our users regarding new features and updates. We also hold a monthly, company-wide town hall that provides all rater8 employees with a high-level overview of what’s coming down the pike, which helps our sales and marketing teams stay abreast of exciting developments and initiatives.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own company in IT?

Cash-strapped startups where “cash is king” should hyper-focus on a niche feature that solves a problem better than established competitors. This targeted approach allows for unparalleled problem-solving for potential customers and will provide those first customers you need to prove to investors that they can comfortably back your idea.