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What is real-time feedback? And why do mobile survey apps excel at it?

Posted by SurveyMe on Mar 22, 2017 7:00:00 AM

When I first joined SurveyMe, I was told one of our main selling points was real-time feedback. At the time, I had no idea what real-time feedback actually was. I thought it was  businesses being able to retrieve their survey results as soon as the customer submits their survey. "Can't all software created in the modern era do that?"

While real-time results is an important aspect of real-time feedback, I was wrong.

Real-time feedback about gathering the feedback in real-time, not seeing the results in real-time.

For example, say you own a movie theater. What data do you think is more valuable, feedback gathered hours or days after the guest leaves the venue or data collected at the point of experience?

You may have guessed it, data gathered at the point of experience is the most valuable type of feedback. This ensures a user's opinions don't change after having spent time away from their experience with your business.

This also allows you to fix any issues that may arise immediately instead of waiting days or months to deal with an issue that may have already damaged your business' reputation. You can't go back in time to deal with those filthy bathrooms. (yet)

Okay, so how do I collect real-time feedback?

There are a few different ways to go about this. You could have a manager or employee walk around and ask customers their opinions directly, but that's a whole lot of work and some customers might not want to give negative comments face-to-face. (Someday I'll work up the courage to tell the waiter, "No, everything isn't great")

Another real-time feedback method is comment cards, but these are absolutely miserable to collect and analyze the data from. Remember how I mentioned earlier everything modern has real-time reporting? Comment cards aren't modern.

So that leaves us with basically two options for modern real-time feedback, point-of-sales feedback and mobile survey apps.

You maybe have seen POS feedback in the wild before. After making a transaction on a touch screen the screen may prompt you to sum up your experience with a happy and sad face.


A feedback gathering POS out in the wild. The tip screen is usually before the feedback one.

This method is great for learning if your customers are having a positive or negative experience in real-time, but it's not so great for finding out why. Was the service slow? Was the cashier rude? You'll never know because it's an inherent problem with the platform.

There isn't much time to give a detailed opinion while the cashier is getting the customer's food or popcorn. Only enough time for one or two multiple choice questions, never any details. Not only that, these systems require hardware that can become quite expensive the more locations you have.

Mobile survey apps (like SurveyMe!) on the other hand, solve many of these disadvantages posed by other real-time feedback tools. Customers generally look to their mobile devices when there might be downtime in their customer experience.


Here's a photo of a bunch of people on their phones at SXSW 2017. Even with brand new movies, art and culture surrounding them, people will still stare at their phones. Credit and story: Lauren Goode from TheVerge.com 

If you incentivize the feedback with an instant reward, customers are more likely to submit their feedback while still in your store/venue, thus making it real-time. Another advantage over POS surveys is you can also ask more questions because customers can take their time answering survey questions instead of being rushed at the point-of-service. (Make sure the surveys themselves are not too long otherwise you'll receive incomplete surveys).

But the main advantage of mobile survey apps is drilling down to the why.

It's good practice to know if your customers are happy and if your business is growing, but it's more important to know why they're happy.

That way you know how to create or maintain customer loyalty.

The total cost of survey apps is a side benefit. There's no need to purchase or maintain proprietary expensive equipment because 77% of Americans already own smartphones.

Real-time feedback is valuable, but you have to choose the right tool to gather it. SurveyMe offers a mobile reward system that boasts a 6% higher response rate than email or receipt surveys.

Set up a demo with us and start collecting customer feedback today!

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Topics: Survey Strategies, Featured

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