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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : October 09, 2012

Mobile surveys vital for genuine point-of-experience customer feedback

Recent research has highlighted the growing role of mobile in customer insight, with more people prefering to give feedback and participate in research from their devices. I asked SurveyMe CEO and founder, Lee Evans, about the advantages of using mobile for customer insight and how some of his clients are using the channel.

by Helen Leggatt

Getting feedback from your customers is vital, but just as important is getting that insight in a timely fashion to facilitate a quick reaction or conduct analysis. The barriers to obtaining fast and fresh feedback from customers are coming down, and mobile is leading the charge.

Recently released data shows a marked increase in the number of people completing online feedback forms and surveys on a mobile device.

The number of smartphone and tablet users completing eDigitalResearch surveys on a mobile device rose from 4.2% in July last year to 9.2% in June this year. Almost three-quarters of their respondents said they preferred a mobile format as it was more convenient.

Mobile surveys not only enable companies to obtain instant feedback, but usually that feedback can be secured at the point-of-experience. That touchpoint might be as a traveler checks out of a hotel, a diner pays for a meal or a shopper leaves a store.

The creators of SurveyMe, an app first released in 2011, have witnessed this rise in the use of mobile at the point-of-experience. Since the app launch, year on year growth of creation and answering of surveys is 418% while the number of users has consistently grown at almost 2 new users an hour across 25 countries.

Image of iphone and app.jpgI caught up with Lee Evans, CEO and founder of SurveyMe, designed for customer or employee feedback, consumer research and insights, to discover the advantages of using mobile apps to collect consumer insight and how some clients are putting it into practice.

What makes a mobile survey completed at the point-of-experience any more valuable than one completed on a desktop when the consumer gets home?

Lee Evans: Choosing mobile versus web surveys is down to whether you value genuine point-of-experience feedback. Using a hotel stay as an example, the receptionist may give a device to a traveler while they are waiting for the check-out bill to be printed. The feedback is received and can be analyzed instantly by head office who can put right any service issues.

With a web survey, the resident usually receives the email survey 24-48 hours after checking out, or whenever they get in front of their PC. In the intervening hours many external factors may have influenced their judgment, either positively or negatively.

Remember, too, that data collected via an app can be immediately analyzed and, if necessary, acted upon.

A Premiership football club used SurveyMe in their hospitality lounges for feedback. We reduced the time it took to collect and analyze the feedback from 2 days to 5 minutes meaning a pre-match survey could be analyzed and any service issues rectified by half-time.

BizReport: How do response rates for mobile app surveys compare to other channels such as web-based and email?

Lee Evans: Email survey response rates are typically around 1-2% but, in our experience, when a business, such as a restaurant, hands an iPad to the customer when they're paying the bill, the average response rate is 83%.

There are a few advantages to choosing a mobile survey app versus making an existing website mobile-friendly. Firstly, the amount of data being transferred on a mobile survey app is tiny in comparison with the loading of a web page, making it quicker to load a survey.

Secondly, with a website survey the user must move from one page or section to another requiring the device's mobile browser to open a new page each time.

Finally, consumers like to be rewarded for their feedback. SurveyMe, for example, allows survey creators to design their own rewards, which then appear automatically on the user's phone screen for immediate or future use. To do this on a website would mean programming a separate web page each time.

BizReport: How are some of your clients using the SurveyMe app, and what results are they seeing in terms of participation compared with other channels?

Lee Evans: Training companies are using SurveyMe for pre-coursework surveys so they can pitch seminars with the appropriate level of content. They get a 40% response rate through emailing participants a QR code in advance. When the device is handed out at the end of the seminar, they see response rates of 80% or more.

With paper surveys they were getting a 55% response rate. And, it took on average 4 hours to process the old paper survey responses into a report, whereas SurveyMe gives them the data instantly.

Another example is a large hotel group that uses our app to internally measure performance across five hotels in their housekeeping, restaurant and reception areas. They run a monthly competition for the best department and best hotel overall, based on customer feedback.

We also have many restaurants using the app. In particular we have one client using it to ensure customers are consistently welcomed on arrival. The owners were worried that when they were not present in the restaurant the service standards fell. However, the SurveyMe app showed them it was consistently above their own expectations. They get a 90% feedback rate.

BizReport: And finally, there have been some concerns about the use of Flash-based surveys, with many users struggling to complete them. How does SurveyMe get around this problem?

Lee Evans: At the moment our analytics are Flash-based, but due to the rise in people using our app on Apple devices we already have a non-Flash graphics package in development.

For more on the eDigitalResearch study, click here.

For more on the SurveyMe app, click here:

Tags: consumer insights, consumer surveys, customer feedback, mobile, mobile app, mobile web, smartphone, tablet

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