How to capture real-time customer feedback to improve satisfaction and drive business


By: Kalli Ricka Wolf

Perhaps you’ve noticed them as you’re rushing through security at the airport, after a workout session at the gym, or while shopping. A simple kiosk system of four smiley faces on buttons, ranging from happy as green to angry as red, where customers can quickly review their experiences and answer a simple question like “How was our service today?” with the touch of a button.

Services like HappyOrNot are changing the way businesses collect data and improve consumer experience. Spiegel Research, in a study with online review system PowerReviews, has identified how to gather consumer reviews that are more credible, trustworthy, and representative of the customer population. Researcher Yorgos Askalidis’ findings say that particularly when customers are prompted to submit a review, marketers can collect more accurate results.

HappyOrNot’s service is an example that marketers can use to access hard-to-reach consumers who don’t ordinarily post reviews or fill out online surveys, and a way to understand improving the customer experience. The business-to-business review service is both online and in store, which makes it more accessible and able to reach a wider audience, resulting in more credible reviews.

Spiegel researchers have discovered how email prompting verified buyers to review products post-purchase creates a more representative survey sample than self-selected, unprompted reviews. However, studies in the field have shown that online reviews tend to favor only one segment of the population, such as those who are under the age of 65, have higher income and more education. The accessibility of a review system both online and in store prompts more segments of customers to review with just the click of a button.

“With the simple smiley faces, the review system overcomes language barriers and the unmanned podium makes it easy to input your thoughts,” said IMC ‘16 student Anna Klutho, who first noticed HappyOrNot at Stansted Airport in London. “All in all, I found it a most creative way to garner customer input in such a high traffic area.”

Review services like HappyOrNot are helpful, but there are some limitations that companies should consider when analyzing results. The simplicity of the smiley face button service makes it easier for customers to make rash and unconscious decisions that don’t necessarily reflect their opinions or select happy or angry faces for reasons unrelated to the service, like travelers in a crowded airport running late for their flight. Other variables can also affect data, like children who like to press buttons repeatedly, users who didn’t read or understand the question asked of them, or kiosks not placed in high-traffic areas.

The simple design of the kiosks and smiley face buttons result in more reviews because the process takes less time and effort for customers than traditional review surveys or questionnaires.
This tool is valuable to companies who can receive real-time feedback that presents a more accurate picture of their customer experience. Ultimately, simple review systems that utilize both online and in-store reviews are another way that marketers can learn about the customer experience and drive business.

Spiegel Research recommendations for collecting customer feedback:

Simplicity is key
Consider HappyOrNot’s format, and make review questions as simple as possible with a straightforward response scale (i.e. smiley faces or 1 through 5 stars) This eliminates ambiguity and is particularly useful in places like airports, where people speak different languages

Encourage reviews
Motivate customers to review post-purchase, and make the review process quick and simple by prompting customers with questions on an iPad as they leave the store, for example

Go beyond online
Utilize both online and in-store review systems in order to receive more credible feedback that can help you improve the customer experience and boost your business