Filed under: Business Trends, Case Study, Conferences, Events, Running a better business, Survey Feedback, Surveys, Technology, Tradeshows | Tags: conference attendee Feedback, customer experience, do-it-yourself, Email Marketing, Event Feedback, ipad surveys, iPhone surveys, mobile surveys, real-time survey reporting
We recently partnered with the Fast Casual Executive Summit 2012 team to provide our mobile surveys to attendees at this week’s conference held in San Diego, which was a great learning experience for both teams! We’re not only providers of mobile feedback surveys to conferences but also are attendees of many conferences and tradeshows ourselves. We’re taking our unique perspective and turning it into best practices that can help you make the most of your event to improve your feedback program, and ultimately the likeliness of your attendees joining you again for your next event.
Going back a few years, the 2008 recession has had a significant negative impact across our economy, leading all business owners to examine how effectively their money is being spent. The meetings and conventions industry has certainly felt this impact; Architectural Record reports that both the number of conventions and convention attendance has declined in the last decade.
Though the industry is beginning to show signs of recovery, many meeting planners have had to remain on their toes amid budget cuts. In a 2010 survey of meeting planners by the Professional Convention Management Association, 26% of planners expected their budgets to be cut in the year ahead. Of that number, 80% stated the budget cuts were due to “general economic conditions,” and they expected to book fewer meetings, due to the cost of food and beverage, transportation, and lodging.
Under these conditions, it is more important than ever for meeting planners to stretch their dollars and ensure limited funds are spent as efficiently as possible. However, meeting planners must also avoid a decline in quality despite cost cutting measures. To maintain this balance, planners should pay very close attention to guest satisfaction, using attendee feedback to streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary expenditures while keeping satisfaction high.
Customer feedback cards are one example of inefficient spending: response rates are low, and they are very time-consuming to process and analyze. Instead, meeting planners would be wise to take advantage of On The Spot System’s mobile, real-time survey system to gather feedback from event attendees. Attendees can complete the user-friendly survey on their own mobile phones, sending valuable feedback to meeting planners on every aspect of the conference including facilities, staff, registration process, speakers, individual sessions, materials, location, dining options, and more. Instant alerts notify meeting planners of any negative feedback so they can react quickly to resolve the problem if possible.
Survey results are collected and displayed using On The Spot System’s customizable reporting tools. Meeting planners can easily view and analyze statistics from one or multiple events, allowing them to identify strengths and weaknesses and to pinpoint specific areas for improvement for future events. By using On The Spot Systems and obtaining a wealth of quality feedback from attendees, meeting planners are able to organize quality conferences and events despite shrinking budgets.
Nevertheless, technology can only make it quicker and easier to collect feedback- not fool proof. It’s important to remember that even with a mobile feedback system you have to promote the surveys to your audience to reach your goal response rate. It’s as easy as reminding people to do the surveys at the end of each session. When you stress the importance of feedback, you’ll leave the impression with your audience that their feedback is valuable and will be taken seriously. When they know it’s worth their time, you’d be surprised how willing your audience will be to take out their smartphones to fill out your mobile surveys!
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Filed under: Case Study, Clients, Email Marketing, News, Restaurants, Running a better business, Survey Feedback, Surveys, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: affordable technology, better business, customer satisfaction, drive sales, guest satisfaction, ideas into action, loyalty programs, measurement and analytics, mobile data collection, mobile surveys, real time data, ROI, top ways
Recently we stumbled upon a great info graphic about the “10 Ways to Increase Sales in 2012” and we had the most unsurprising reaction- Oh, that’s so simple and interesting! Of course, that’s what info graphics are supposed to be- simple, straight-to-the-point, and interesting. While this top ten list certainly sparks interest, we wanted to contribute our thoughts on how to put these sales drivers into high gear this year! Using our clients as inspiration, and our Survey On The Spot tool as the platform, we’ve identified some ideas that any business could benefit from integrating into day-to-day operations and big-picture strategy.
#1 Use Analytics and Metrics
Analytics and metrics have never been more important to businesses as retailers continue to try to gather usable insights from their business efforts. However, it can be a challenge for “brick and mortar” businesses to follow along in implementing analytics and tracking tactics that are relevant to gauging their success in attracting and retaining customers. There is a way to use software, however, to get the same level of analytics in the place where you need it most – at the point of sale. This realization is what prompted us to consider mobile technology as a way to provide brick-and-mortar locations with a level of analytics and metrics to fuel their business decisions that hasn’t been readily available. We’ve created a way that consumers can share their voice with you about their experience with your business in real-time. Customers can provide feedback on the service they received, the training session they just attended or the new food dish they just tried…all before they leave their seat. This data is then automatically converted to metrics that can be tracked over time.
#9 Manage Your Reputation
“Unhappy customers are more likely to leave negative reviews online and complain to their networks both online and offline. Be sure to respond to unhappy customers and try to fix the issue so more customers will be satisfied.” We wish we had written those wise words ourselves! At the heart of successfully managing one’s reputation is finding a way to get the customer’s opinion before anyone else- including the customer next to them or their entire social network. Make sure you come up in conversation in a positive way by ensuring you have a process in place to deal with feedback immediately rather than doing “damage” control after the fact. We know how important this can be- if you provide top quality service 99% of the time, don’t let the 1% slip through the cracks. It’s not easy, but it’s never been easier. We have clients who use mobile guest satisfaction surveys- if a customer provides negative feedback an alert is sent to management to notify them of the issue. Management can then try to resolve the problem before the customer leaves. The feedback can also be used to drive positive change- the quality of service achieved affects the employee’s performance evaluations and eventually their yearly bonus or promotion.
#6 Build Relationships with Customers
When we take our business hats off at the end of the day, and go back to being consumers, it’s easier to remember how much simple “good business” practices can positively influence our decisions to be a ‘regular’ or just a drifting one-time consumer. Customers respond positively when companies personally engage them and understand what they want. Customers will be more likely to choose your business over another if you are receptive to their needs. When customer relationships are a priority, businesses can achieve 43% more sales per employee and 260% more revenue. These results aren’t surprising, but just having the facts doesn’t always give you a way to get from a to b. When it comes to engagement, asking for feedback is central. Opening a conversation with customers to give you their feedback allows them to have a “say in the matter”. You can also ask for their feedback while offering an incentive, like signing up for your email club to receive special offers, or something special on their birthday.
#5 Invest in Mobile Tactics
Mobile tactics aren’t limited to building your own smartphone app or mobile ordering platform. Mobile tactics can be used to enable you to more effectively run and build your business on a day-to-day basis. You can invest in collecting mobile feedback, letting customers join your loyalty rewards program on their phones, etc. Mobile technology can also be used to monitor and manage regular business procedures like opening and closing checklists, food safety and sanitation audits or to gather employee engagement and training feedback.
#3 Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs encourage repeat business by rewarding sales with discounts, freebies, and other incentives. The average US household is enrolled in 18 loyalty programs and customers who are part of a loyalty program will spend more. The first step to having a loyalty reward program is being able to get the right email addresses to send rewards to. For restaurants especially, it can be hard to get the word out about your rewards program on your own. Many of our customers use surveys like ours to get feedback, and at the end of the survey, collect email addresses from customers who’d like to opt-in to receive loyalty club rewards, be entered in sweepstakes promotions, or receive special offers on their birthday. For example, one of our clients used a QR code on the packaging of a new product once it hit shelves to get feedback on the product from customers, and once they completed the survey, they were entered into a sweepstakes to win $250 in store gift cards.
Sales growth is directly linked to the quality of the product and service you provide your client. In today’s economic environment, this is even truer than ever before. Using mobile technology can help you better monitor, manage and build your business by insuring that you have your pulse on your customer’s experience and creating opportunities to build a stronger relationship. Solutions, like ours, can be affordable and can save you time, money, paper, and lost customers. Many of our clients use our service for as little as $2/day. So, what’s stopping you from driving your sales this year?
Filed under: Clients, News, Restaurants, Running a better business, Survey Feedback, Surveys, Technology | Tags: better business, customer service surveys, economy, entrepreneurship, interchange zero, low costs, new businesses, start-up
For those of you unfamiliar, interchange zero (IZ) is a term supporters use when talking about eliminating the interchange costs associated with the use of credit cards. Interchange fees are those pesky percentages card companies charge merchants when they accept credit card transactions. The belief among many like Seth Priebatsch, creator of The LevelUp, is that by reducing or removing those fees, ‘Friction’ that money can better be used to build commerce and drive revenue to benefit all parties involved. I realize one sentence doesn’t do it justice, but redirecting $50 bllion of current non-value-added expenses toward driving consumer and enterprise value is an extremely powerful idea – especially in light of the current state of the economy.
A logical and possibly larger extension of this idea is the opportunity around what I call Obligation Zero (OZ), the ‘Friction’ that results from contract terms. This topic came up as we recently launched our start-up, On The Spot Systems. One of the first things we needed to figure out (after identifying that we had an excellent concept) was a go-to-market strategy. When we thought about what type of company we wanted to be, we instantly defaulted to our vision of the kinds of companies with which WE would want to do business (One of the simple pleasures of starting your own business!) We immediately concluded that “No Contracts Required” was a good place to start. My business partner and I firmly believe that if we aren’t delivering the promise we made to you as our client, we don’t deserve to keep your business. Period. More importantly, we found that this approach keeps us always pushing forward, always looking for the next unique tool or innovation, always looking out for our clients’ best interest. Essentially, it keeps us hungry.
I speak from experience: When a client isn’t obligated to continue to pay us because of a guaranteed contract, we ensure that we are ultra competitive. We continually press innovation into our clients’ hands, continue to improve the efficiency of our business to deliver lower cost solutions while maintaining or growing our margins. We believe that ultimately we will capture a larger share of the market as a result of this approach to doing business and that we will maintain a reputation for ensuring our clients always get the best we can deliver.
The flip side of OZ is the impact of obligating your clients to pay for unrealized value. What is the cost to business and the economy of this approach? The net result is negative economic value as businesses are forced to accept sub-optimal performance and products or services they no longer want or need. My guess is that this could result in billions of dollars of sub-optimal performance across the business landscape. Consider this industry example: Based on a recent GSM/Wireless Intelligence study, global revenues for mobile service will reach $1.1 trillion (with a ‘T’) this year. If 1% of that revenue came from customers that had better service options available – but couldn’t switch carriers – and if by switching they could save on average 10%, it represents $1.1 Billion dollars of economic impact… For that single category of business alone! Think about all of the contract obligations, personal and business, in existence, and do the math. It represents a colossal number…and doesn’t include any of the non-cash benefits, like better, faster service.
This played out in the real world recently. After successfully piloting our Survey On The Spot product, one of our hospitality clients decided to move forward with a system-wide rollout. They encountered one major problem: Their current supplier refused to let them out of their contract, essentially forcing the client to continue using what they perceived to be a sub-optimal product for the remainder of the contract (about a year). Rather than looking in the mirror at what they had failed to deliver – they just fell back onto the contract. The client called us, exasperated, so we put our money where our mouths are… We offered the client our product at no cost for the first year, thereby demonstrating our commitment to our clients (and a healthy belief in our Survey On The Spot product) by walking-the-walk. It’s still too early to tell how this story will end, but we are committed to this OZ approach to business, and people are taking notice.
We recognize that eliminating all contracts is easier said than done, but we do believe that reducing the situations in which contracts only serve to arbitrarily lock in a revenue stream is good for business. This is at the heart of the opportunity and impact. If companies are motivated to be as efficient as possible to benefit their clients, how much capital would flow into the economy to fuel growth? A lot. If contract-obligating companies always tried to find a way to innovate to improve the efficiency of their clients, what would be the lift in economic productivity?
It’s hard to know, but “Obligation Zero“ is a good place to start.
Filed under: Running a better business, Surveys, Technology | Tags: customer experience, Surveys, Technology
One of Survey On The Spot’s many user-friendly and customizable reporting tools is the Trend Report. Created for businesses with multiple locations to track, this tool provides a bird’s eye view of your business’s survey results over a period of time. You can see the performance of your business as a whole as well as results unique to every location, with an average score for each plus score breakdowns for individual categories, and can track your performance by observing how your decisions affect your score over time.
The Trend Report is particularly useful at benchmarking a location against the performance of your chain as a whole. You can measure the scores of your service speed/performance, food/beverage quality, as well as tracking the “no problem experienced” and “overall satisfaction” score.
Using the Trend Report allows you to easily identify any problem locations from a high level as they compare to your other locations during a period of time. Once you’ve identified a problem location, you can dig a little deeper through the survey results to find out exactly what they are doing wrong. You can look at the problem location’s individual survey responses for specific examples of what customers did not like in order to identify problems that need to be fixed. Further, you can look to other locations as examples for what needs to be improved.
Identifying the high-performing locations on the Trend Report and examining their individual survey responses can help you find specific examples of what customers liked. You can then use these examples to make improvements to the problem location, and track the performance of your management decisions, to ultimately help you increase customer satisfaction.
What use is a customer survey if it is too difficult to organize and report the data for accurate analysis? Survey On The Spot features streamlined reporting tools that allow you to view your survey data in a simple and user-friendly format, giving you the control to customize the report displays so they are most useful to your unique needs. You also have the option of viewing data online or exported to Excel or PDF files, allowing for further data analysis.
The Company Score Report allows business owners to identify areas of improvement and pinpoint particular locations that are bringing the ratings down. If your customer satisfaction scores are lagging in a certain area and you find yourself asking, “is the entire business underperforming in this area, or is it just one location that needs to pick up the slack?,” check the individual scores; the report displays averages for each location so you can see how they compare.
Our reporting feature allows businesses with multiple locations to track guest satisfaction performance at each location. Survey data for each location can be viewed individually, comparatively, or in total. With this tool, business owners have a detailed view of their business’s guest satisfaction success, as they are able to analyze the overall results as well as the performance of each separate location. This scorecard style report not only can users see in which particular areas they excel or fall behind overall, but they can pinpoint which individual locations stand out in the rankings, thereby easily identifying areas for improvement.
For example, imagine a chain of restaurants has an overall positive customer satisfaction score in speed of service. Upon further examination of the data by comparing the individual results of each location in Survey On The Spot’s Company Score Report, however, the business owner sees that Location #2 is doing exceptionally well in this area while Location #5 is lagging far behind. With this knowledge, the business owner can now take the appropriate steps to improve customer satisfaction by asking, what is Location #2 doing to streamline service and increase speed that Location #5 is not? Through analysis of individual survey responses at each location, the business owner can pinpoint particular things customers liked and did not like and can identify specific ways to maximize efficiency at Location #5.
The above scenario can be applied to all aspects of customer satisfaction at restaurants, including food quality, environment, quality of service, cleanliness, success of specific menu items, and more. By paying close attention to each of these important aspects of your restaurant, tracking success in each area at all locations, and comparing data across locations, you can make focused improvements with the big picture in mind, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and the overall success of your business.
Survey On The Spot has introduced new features that will improve data collection for businesses utilizing the survey system to gain feedback from their customers. The following features make it easier for businesses to collect, manage, and analyze guest satisfaction survey information by maximizing user control.
CSV files: The Survey On The Spot system now allows users to download responses as CSV files. This feature increases data compatibility by allowing businesses to more easily integrate survey data with other systems. In addition to the Survey on the Spot system’s reporting feature (link: http://www.surveyonthespot.com/how-it-works/reporting/), exporting data to Excel and CSV files gives users total control of their data by enabling them to organize and view data entirely to manage it how they prefer, and to integrate with different systems they like using (such as email marketing tools).
Scheduled reports: Save time with scheduled data reports. With this new feature, Survey On The Spot will email you automated data reports on a schedule that you determine – daily, weekly, or monthly – to one or more users. Rather than having to log in to Survey On The Spot to view these reports each time you would like to see them, they will be waiting for you in your inbox when you begin the day, or week, so you can work with them a little easier. For example, you can begin morning staff meetings with a comprehensive view of your guest satisfaction insights, with clear visuals of what you can improve upon today based on yesterday’s survey responses. You can brief staff members on specific areas of improvement before customers arrive so they can begin the day’s work already ahead.
Offline surveys: Mobile phones or tablets no longer need to be connected to the internet to collect survey responses. Once the survey has been loaded onto a smartphone using an internet connection, the survey can be completed and data can be collected without requiring connectivity. Data is then uploaded to the Survey On The Spot portal once an internet connection is reestablished. This can be useful for restaurants that want to collect surveys from customers on provided iPads or mobile devices but do not have an available WiFi connection. Staff members can then upload the survey results through a wired connection once the customer has returned the mobile device or at the close of the business day. It can also be effectively used for intercept surveys in locations where there is no wifi or cellular signal.
These new features provide users with more streamlined data collection and analysis capabilities. Survey On The Spot is now better than ever at providing business with the tools for faster and more precise guest satisfaction improvements.
Filed under: Surveys | Tags: customer feedback, customer satisfaction score, customer service surveys, real-time survey reporting
Customer experience is important to you. You make that clear by how you run your operations. Are you moving your customer satisfaction scores in the right direction?
At your business, complaints are handled quickly and professionally. You offer your customers ample opportunity to express their concerns through customer experience surveys. You have a means of logging that information, following up quickly, and making changes where necessary, with a near-immediacy thanks to real-time survey tools. But what do you do with surveys in the long run?
Real-time reporting allows you to look at individual surveys and aggregated data for immediate review or a broad overview, as necessary. Take advantage of your reporting tools to look at customer experience reports for a fuller analysis. For example, Survey On The Spot allows you to look at trends in your customers’ reviews to track your progress. Look at results for specific days or employee shifts or take a longer view, seeing how your customers’ experiences get better or worse as you try to make changes to adjust your workflow. Survey On The Spot data is easily viewed online and can also be exported as a spreadsheet or pdf.
The best part of having your survey data available and easily manipulated in spreadsheets is the tracking tool. You can highlight positive trends and try to replicate successes. Your employees who receive the best feedback can be recognized and rewarded for their services. New employees’ impact on clients can be shown through customer experience surveys completed for visits during their working shifts. Eliminating menu items, changing administrative check-in procedures, or reorganizing a showroom all can have an impact on your clients’ feelings about your business. You do not even have to include specific questions about those changes to be able to see in the surveys how they play out for clients.
You can also learn more about what you haven’t been asking your clients. Seeing the feedback over time may make you realize follow-up questions that are worth asking. Adding in those inquiries may also change your customers’ perceptions of you: something else you can learn from analyzing your survey trends!
Filed under: Surveys | Tags: employee surveys, internal surveys, staff satisfaction
As a business owner, your first concern is customer satisfaction. To make sure your services are up to your guests’ high standards, you have undoubtedly sought honest, thorough feedback from your clients and customers. While customers can share their individual responses and reactions, there is another audience with lots to say. External clients are not the only people with questions, comments, and complaints: many times, the best ideas for innovation and increased accountability come from within. But how can you encourage candid, timely commentary from your staff?
Show your staff that you are serious about guest satisfaction by asking them for feedback about you and your management team. Take the time to ask them for feedback on critical business issues and then review the feedback with them and brainstorm solutions to the issues they have identified.
Just like your external audiences, often times your staff needs to be asked targeted questions to know what issues are of interest to your business. Taking the time to request feedback on critical business issues lets your employees know that management is interested in their ideas and feedback. As new proposals and suggestions emerge, you have the opportunity to form groups around common themes, construct brainstorming sessions, and work collaboratively across of levels of business operations to find solutions.
Employees in influential roles may be more open to share their opinions than rank and file staff. Whether it is concern about potentially jeopardizing future opportunities for advancement or simply being more accustomed to speaking their minds, officers and managers tend to have more to say in public, recorded gatherings. Giving employees the option of anonymity allows them to reflect on internal problems, share issues with management, and communicate more frankly than they might in a public forum. It also allows employees to report to individuals other than their own supervisors, alleviating concerns about disappointing one’s immediate boss.
Having survey tools available for easy deployment also allows a business to get immediate feedback on pressing issues. After a company-wide meeting, employees could return to their desktops to find a survey in their email box asking for their first impressions of breaking news and for evaluations of the communications methods used to deliver that news. Sending surveys that employees can respond to on their smartphones allows them to take surveys when it is most convenient to them, wherever they are.
As with surveys for external audiences, using current technology can make collecting employee satisfaction and other business feedback a manageable task for your business. Just as with external audiences, seeking input has benefits beyond increased data collection. Bringing the latest technology to your internal audiences to encourage feedback can spark new ideas and alliances and can also lead employees to feel they are playing a greater role in the growth of the company. A dedicated employee, like a loyal customer, can go a long way in ensuring the success of your business.
Filed under: Surveys | Tags: customer service surveys, ipad surveys, iPhone surveys, ipod surveys, mobile surveys, real-time survey reporting, Survey On The Spot
There is a tendency among businesses that collect customer feedback to not properly take advantage of the information. Many businesses collect comment cards, but when it comes time to enter the data into a system, there isn’t the budget to pay the administrative staff to do data entry. The only thing worse than not mining your customers for insights is going through the heavy lifting of getting them to complete a survey and then not doing anything with it.
Being able to obtain complete customer participation in experience surveys will not help at all if you never read what your clients have to say. If you are not using your customer feedback to the fullest, you can take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Unfortunately, getting data from comment cards is a resource-intensive process that does not always make it to the top of the priorities list in a busy workplace.
The obstacles to analysis of customer comment cards are many, even after your clients have shared their opinions. The cards, once distributed, completed, and collected, must then be reviewed and input by administrative staff. This data entry, though elementary, is a tedious task that uses valuable administrative time. Administrative tasks like data entry also leave ample opportunity for human error, potentially skewing results and negating the value of the survey. Double-checking data entry is another time-consuming task. Depending on your software programs, you may find yourself reviewing the data input manually to extrapolate themes and trends from your data.
Composing the perfect survey takes time and effort. Making the survey accessible to customers and then convincing them to complete it takes time, money, and creative thinking. If you are putting in the resources to develop and promote your survey, why would you want to waste it all on a lack of follow-through? The only thing worse than not mining your customers for insights is failing to take timely action on the learning that is at your fingertips.
Is there an easier approach? Of course there is! Businesses can put aside the pencils and note cards and fast-forward their survey materials to the 21st century. Consider using iPad or iPod touch portable devices so your customers can input survey data in real time. This allows your business to identify specific time frames for responses, pick up on trends, and stay abreast of customer satisfaction as it happens. This method eliminates much of the human error associated with data entry and also cuts down on wasted time for your employees. Allowing your staff to serve customers instead of being hidden away copying responses into a computer means more one-on-one customer service, a better client experience, and happier customers. Meanwhile, you reap the profits.
Filed under: Surveys | Tags: customer feedback, ipad surveys, iPhone surveys, mobile surveys, restaurant surveys
Mobile surveys are for more than just your clients or customers. You may find that your staff can use mobile survey tools to do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.
In retail and distribution services, field data collection is central to staying on top of operations outside of company headquarters. Traditional methods of collecting field data suffer under the financial and time costs of collection, processing and analyzing data without the convenience of automation. Bringing this technology to your staff cuts overhead and allows for more efficient production and processing of data.
Not all company data is purely quantitative. A pen and pencil cannot show some data. Using mobile survey tools, staff can share both the most accurate data and the most appropriate: this can include qualitative data, photos, video, and sound, recorded on a mobile device. This gives managers a holistic view of the situation outside of your company headquarters.
Keep your surveyors moving by working toward faster survey completion. Digital survey tools far surpass traditional record keeping through logic and skip patterns. Questions can be tailored to your respondents without the added costs of multiple printings or the simple time inconvenience of skipping through irrelevant questions.
Some industries may find that their surveyors need more communication between each other. Strengthen communication between staff on different sites by allowing them to monitor others’ data-collection in real-time. This allows staff and management to identify hyper-local trends, emerging issues, and other detail-based concerns that may arise during field data collection.
Of course, the convenience breaks down barriers at the survey site and back at headquarters. Forgoing the clipboard allows for immediate processing and analysis: there is no delay for human data entry. In fact, wireless networking allows for instant uploading to your main site for large-scale processing and analysis and quick turnaround.
Is this right for your business?
Consider the example of Monarch Beverages, an Indiana-based beer and wine distributor operating nearly 80 routes per day. Monarch Beverages uses Survey On The Spot to validate retail performance to support various beverage promotions. Monarch Beverages staff call on Survey On The Spot when visiting locations like bars and restaurants to improve accuracy and speed of making sure their products are being correctly displayed and promoted.
Staff can keep quick and clear records of bars and restaurants’ use of their promotional products for future reports. Photographs and documentation of product display visibility can be stored, promotional pricing can be checked and confirmed, and even appropriate handles for beers on tap can be double-checked and recorded.