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Are Customer Feedback Surveys Dead?

Listening to customer feedback is vital: A recent Gartner survey estimated that 89% of businesses expect to compete mainly on customer experience.

In the past, paper surveys were the mainstay of feedback collection. They were simple to complete and, when analysed, helped brands grow. Today, those of us looking for the voice of the customer are faced with an explosion of choice. Online surveys, audience response systems and even social media channels have entered the fray.

One intriguing innovation is the smiley terminal. These devices present up to 5 emoji buttons for passers-by to express their mood. Their growth in public spaces and offices around the world makes them a familiar sight.

But are they any good? Do they replace traditional surveys, do they complement them, or are they just a gimmick?

Paul Jenner, Sales Director at OMBEA, is the person to ask. OMBEA is a Stockholm-based developer of survey tools, including those smiley terminals. We caught up with him to learn more. We started by asking him why there is a drive towards these very simple devices over a full survey?

Paul explained: “Brands want detailed feedback, but that is time-consuming to capture. Consumers are happy to give feedback only if it is quick. That simple conflict is at the heart of our decision to simplify. When using ExpressPods our clients tell us they see a HUGE increase in feedback volume.”

But how is it useful if they only ask one question?

“They’re more sophisticated than you think! Each Pod sends votes to a live dashboard so managers can monitor service quality in real-time. They’re specific to a location so it’s easy to compare sites and track emerging trends.”

Okay, but how do you know why people vote? Surely this is where surveys are more useful.

“Here we have a unique twist. We ship every ExpressPod with the ability to switch from emoji buttons to multiple-choice buttons. Our clients use them to get more depth without sacrificing feedback volumes.”

And what kind of transformation could people expect in real life?

“Let me give one example. We’re working with a shopping mall in the UK. They use surveys too. Those surveys, while detailed, struggle to reach 100 completed forms per month. With the ExpressPod they see over 20,000 data points per month! That’s makes a huge difference to the confidence they have in any conclusions they draw.”

So here’s the killer question: Are surveys dead?

“On the one hand, this is a big leap from surveys. They are always asking about the past rather than the present. Overall though, I don’t think so. That shopping mall continues to use it’s survey tool for the depth it captures. If brands want to improve, they need both breadth and depth in feedback, so we see our tools as a complement to existing feedback channels.”

So there you have it. The survey is here to stay. The role of new technology is to enhance and not replace.

OMBEA Ltd
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