The difference between smiley face feedback and traditional surveys.


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Feedback data and Survey data are two different things:
– Feedback data respects every single response, and carries the sense of ‘every customer matters’.
– Survey data respects the statistical sample of customers or users, and carries the sense of ‘what’s the trend’.

Feedback, Business concept. Chart with keywords and icons. Man holding a tablet computer

Credit : tumsasedgars / Adobe Stock

Why does our understanding of feedback data vs. survey data matter?

We live in an era where speed is of the essence and customers are demanding ever more personalisation. Holding an academic research exercise with a forum of statistically selected customers can be of great benefit. It can inform product development, marketing and facility design, amongst other things. But it’s not real-time. In fact often the results take months to report.

Feedback in the moment can inform an organisation ‘now’ about what customers or employees think ‘today’.

I’m often asked for help with designing surveys. When we discuss the requirement and understand the reasons for the feedback and the touch points where feedback will be captured, we often establish that the real need is for a simple smiley face rating of service, with real-time alerts so that action can be taken to improve something.

To gain the views of customers in the moment and be able to respond in the moment is proving powerful in the drive towards providing the best customer experience. Customer experience excellence is now seen as a key differentiator by most brands, overtaking product and price by 2020.

For example in airports and other public facilities, smiley feedback is enabling travellers to trigger alerts for cleaners to respond when required, just by pressing the ‘red button’. Clearly this doesn’t require a ‘customer survey’. Simply using smiley feedback buttons provides the international symbol for being happy or not! When so many red faces are touched within a set timeframe, alerts inform operations, who can fix the problem.

Is smiley feedback data accurate?

So does the smiley feedback data not carry any statistical relevance? Or put another way, can in the moment customer or employee feedback data be trusted? The answer is yes, as long as it’s understood, well managed, and you’re asking the right questions in the right environment.

The sheer volume of responses from genuine customers, patients or employees to our in the moment solutions, together with smart filtering technology (that assess the screen taps of respondents using algorithms to identify genuine vs. false responses) ensures the feedback is actionable.

There’s a common misconception that an individual can stand at a Smiley Feedback Terminal and just repeatedly hit the red sad face and interfere with results. It just doesn’t work that way. The technology is smarter than that.

So to use the old adage; ‘It’s horses for courses’, if you’re after a research project with a focus group that represents your organisations user base, look to a survey.

And if you’re wanting to hear the voice of your customers ongoing and in the moment, in order to continuously drive real-time improvements, then you’re talking feedback.

Simon Rowland
I'm from a retail, corporate finance and technology background but the common thread has been people. Happy people are more effective in life and work and whatever they put their hand to. So that's the why - why I'm doing what I do at ViewPoint. People. Happiness. Better lives.


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