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Best tips for using a survey app for iPad

Today, there are many choices if you want to run surveys. You can perform surveys on your website, send people emails and text messages, or use dedicated devices and apps. Depending on where and who you want to ask your questions, the best solution for you depends on many factors. In this post we’ll give you the best tips for engaging with your responders through a survey app for iPad.

Why use a survey app for iPad in the first place?

Well, a native app holds some advantages over a basic online survey. First and foremost, it’s not dependent on having stabile network connection. Should the connection fail, then the survey answers will be stored offline in the app until the connection is re-established. Apart from giving the surveyor more data security, this also adds to the positive experience of the survey responder.

 

What’s important when using a survey app for iPad?

There are several things you need to consider. The below points largely deal with the practical aspects of the setting up a solution, and what to be aware of, if you want a hassle-free implementation.

 

Location, location, location…

One of the most important factors is the location of your survey. If you are placing a high-end product like an iPad somewhere in a physical environment, location is an important factor. This is because it very much affects the security measures you need to consider for the solution.

survey app for iPadWhere you want to place your survey station depends on what you want to examine and what experience or emotion you want to capture. If you are considering surveying a retail store, you should read this blog on survey placement, which explains in depth how to get good results.

But for now, let’s assume that you want to survey the customer experience near the exit of a shopping mall. From a survey perspective, the first thing you need to consider is if the survey station is secure. The less secure the location, the more you should be attentive to the security aspects of your installation.

 

Protecting your survey station

If you’re not planning to use facilitating personnel when you conduct your surveys, then security becomes even more important. The security aspects of placing an iPad in a semi-public location pose two security concerns. Namely how to secure your hardware and how to secure your software. We’ll address them both below.

 

Securing your survey app for iPad

Firstly, you need to make sure that responders or outsiders are unable to exit the survey app. We have seen examples (obviously not with our app!) where outsiders have been successful in exiting a survey app, and playing disturbing videos to the outrage of casual by passers. This reflects poorly on the company who is conducting the surveys and the consequences could be severe.

However, there are solutions available. One option is to use Apple’s volume purchasing program (VPP) and distribute the survey app through Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. The MDM software can ensure restricted access to the iPad and disable certain hardware buttons, and thus facilitate the deployment and administration of a survey app. Leading vendors within this space include Miradore, AirWatch and Xenmobile by Citrix.

If you are only conducting surveys in few locations and don’t have access to MDM software, another option is use Apple’s own guided access to restrict access. Although, guided access basically provides the same core functionality for free and works just fine, we only recommend using this approach if you have five locations or less, as it involves the administration of Apple ids and lacks a centralized deployment process and overall monitoring.

 

Securing your survey hardware

Even though you have made sure that no one can start other apps on the device, you also need to consider how to secure the iPad and the iPad stand that you are using. When you are considering iPad stands, there are several options out there. Here, at tabsurvey we have had the opportunity to work with several products. Two stand out.

smiley survey on iPad

 

If your need is an elegant solution, that should endure an highly dynamic environment, and where there’s a risk of theft or vandalism, then our recommendation is the lockable iPad case or stand from BOX IT Design. With thousands of installations worldwide, BOX IT Design’s products have by far proved themselves to be durable and well-designed high-end options.

 

 

 

survey app for iPad

However, should your needs for an iPad stand be different, because your survey is internal or placed in a supervised area, then a great alternative are the stands from Armour Dog. Armour Dog delivers a cost-effective alternative, which is mainly available as table stands.

 

With both products you can mount the stands onto a surface like a floor, a wall or a table. You can also acquire a steel wire with a padlock, if you want to secure the stand further.

 

Utilities and infrastructure

Once you have made the appropriate decisions regarding security, there are still a few other things to pay attention to. One is something as basic as ensuring that you place the iPad and stand near a power outlet. It may seem trivial, but if your device runs out of power, then it won’t be collecting answers for you!

Another issue is the Internet connection. Even though the app can run without an Internet connection, it will not transfer data to your online reports unless there’s a live connection. A time-limited guest wi-fi with login enabled via browser won’t do the trick, as they it will kick off it’s users after 24 or 48 hours. If you must use Wi-Fi, make sure that it’s a reliable internal (preferable hidden) network, or a cellular-based Internet connection. In either case it’s important that the connection is stable and strong.

If you have considered all of the above points, and made the appropriate choices then you are definitely on track to a successful survey implementation.

 

Conclusion

This blog post primarily dealt with the practical issues, which you will face as a project manager, store manager or implementation partner when using a survey app for iPad to run surveys. The things to consider include:

  1. Finding the right location for your survey station
  2. Taking the appropriate measures for securing your hardware and software; and lastly
  3. Ensuring that the necessary infrastructure requirements are present

Be sure to read our next blog, which will give pointers to a successful implementation of a customer experience management project from an organisational involvement point of view. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The curse of post purchase surveys

I recently had my Internet connection upgraded at home. The technician was there for roughly 20 minutes, in which time frame he installed the Coax connection.

Less than half an hour after his visit, I received a text message asking me to rate my experience. I was kind of baffled by the question, as I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to rate the way he rang my door bell, or the way he entered my home, or how he way he sat quietly in the corner of my living room doing his job. Because that’s what he did – his job. I wasn’t sure how to respond to the survey, as I didn’t see how my experience could have been improved. I was indifferent. Or to put it differently, I guess my experience lived up to my minimum expectations. The minimum expectation being that I had a working Internet connection once the technician had left.

What is the purpose of post purchase surveys?

Post purchase surveys are here to stay. The trend seems to be to seek out feedback from the existing customer base and ask for feedback on some part of their experience. However, there are some inherent problems with performing these surveys.

black board with question markFirstly, I guess the real issue is to understand what the core purpose of post purchase surveys is. If it’s to understand and improve the customer experience of the existing customers, then it’s obviously a great idea to shoot someone an email containing a survey with a few questions.

 

However, the surveyor should be aware that by segmenting their visitors in this way, they exclude an important segment, who’s voice is important.

Shoe store example

Imagine that you are the proud owner of a shoe store. Within one hour, three potential customers enter your store. Two of them purchase a pair of shoes each. The third leaves without buying anything. This is not an unlikely scenario, as research shows that one in three customers leave a retail store empty handedly.

picture of shoes

Now, if you had to choose between which one of the three you would like feedback from, which one would you pick? Well, if you’re the type of business owner or a store manager who wants your shoe store to grow through improved customer experience, then you know that you would have to pick the non-purchaser, right? The customers who already made a purchase has, by their actions, already proven that what you had to offer was enough to convince them to purchase.

Sure, by asking about her experience you can fine-tune the customer experience. But if these surveys are supposed to help understand customer experiences, then why only settle for the purchasing customer base?

Post purchase surveys surely serve a purpose, but for it to make sense, you should ask everybody, not only the ones who purchase.

Choosing convenience over curiosity

person with magnifying glassThere are several reasons why many businesses within the service and retail industry use post-purchase surveys. The practical reasons include: Customer contact data is readily available and hence it’s easy to send off an email.

Secondly, if data about the purchase itself is available then the survey response is further enriched by this data. This makes it an important data set for further analysis.

Finally, the feedback that you receive from people who chose to do business with you, is already segmented. That means that you are probably going to get feedback that resonates well with the self image that you have created for yourself. In other words: This is the kind of feedback that will contribute to sustaining status quo.

Focus on the non-purchasers and learn more

On the other hand, obtaining feedback from non-purchasers is tricky. Contact details may not be available, which means that you have to rely on a pull strategy to attract your responders. Data about the purchase isn’t available, and the feedback could potentially be more difficult to work with.

So why go for the non-purchasers? Well, I would argue that it’s because the feedback that you least want to hear (and let’s face it, the people who didn’t purchase are probably inclined to criticize something in your store) is often the feedback that you learn the most from.

However, being open to receiving that kind of feedback isn’t for everyone. It depends on what kind of feedback culture that exists in the organization and that’s an entirely different blog post!

Be sure to stay tuned for new posts, visit some of our most recent blog post here.

Customer Happiness Or Not

“Were you happy or not with your experience today?”

You have probably been asked this question on more than one occasion. Either when you were doing your shopping online or visiting a physical store or outlet.

 

The trend of having a device placed near the exit of a store has come to stay. You meet them in airports, on gas stations and convenience stores and many other places. It’s a trend that has evolved rapidly for various reasons: For one, it signals to the customer that: “Hey, we care about you as our customer”, which I guess is a good thing. It also gives the surveyor (e.g. the retailer) some sort of indication of how the store is doing in terms of customer satisfaction – i.e. were they happy or not. Also, quite nifty if you want to run a successful business.

Asking is committing

However, there are some issues that are inherent to this way to interacting with the customer. When someone is asked about his or her experience, and experience wasn’t all that great, then as a customer or a respondent, you expect your experience to change for the better the next time you visit the store. For instance, let’s assume you went to a store to purchase a pair of pants, and they didn’t have your size. On the way out you’re asked about your experience on one of those smiley stands. You look around to see if anyone is watching before you smack the red angry smiley with your hand.

commitment

Later that week, the store manager reviews the answers of the week, and notices your negative response. But she also thinks to herself: “Our average score is up from the week before, so I guess the new displays we had installed really worked!”

You go back to the store the following week, only to find that the store still doesn’t have your size. The disconnect between question and answer is obvious, nevertheless the smiley stand is more popular than ever.

The missing link

In our view, the appropriate way to interact with the visiting customer is obviously to ask about the shopping experience. But it’s also important to have a follow-up question to understand the why. Why was the customer happy or not, what was missing? What could be done to improve the experience?

missing link

From my experience in working with retailers over the past 11 years, I know that if you want to work with a KPI – for instance customer satisfaction, it’s not enough to measure it. You also need to understand specifically how to improve it. Does the store need to staff up during peak periods? Do they need to be more attentive to product range and availability? Does staff meet the customers in a friendly and helpful way? Does anyone really care about the new displays? The list goes on, and you really won’t know, if you don’t ask.

You can seek inspiration on what great questions to ask in this voice of the customer case, or in this blog post. Be sure to also visit this guide on how to avoid typical pitfalls when placing your device in the store.

 

The learning curve of curious organisations

Background

I have worked with retail organizations over the past 10 years. In that time I have come to learn a few things about the dynamics within them. In this blog post, I want to shed light on what happens when curious organisations start new customer experience projects. Initial high focus from C-level management and well-meaning intentions from many places in the organisation can often lead to misguided attempts to acquire information about your customers. The consequence being fewer answers harvested, too complex data sets and – more importantly, annoyed customers. The objective of this blog entry is to share some of our experiences. Hopefully it will also inspire curious organisations to reflect on the findings below and maybe stay clear of the pitfalls.

New project, new interest

Many of you have probably tried this: Your organisation is on the verge of implementing new technology. Many people involve themselves in order to have impact on the implementation because it’s new and it has management’s attention. This new technology could be a physical, in-store feedback system like tabsurvey.

curious organisations

All of the necessary hardware, software and services are in place in order to roll out the system. Now it’s time to decide what to ask your customers. People from HR are involved. They want to know how customers feel about the store employees’ ability to assist the customers. The sales department are keen to find out if the customers were offered any complementary products and accessories. Store operations want to learn if the customers like the new store merchandising and marketing thinks it’s pivotal to understand if the customers came by because of the latest Facebook campaign.

In this setup curious organisations that are large and consensus-driven struggle to keep a specific focus for the survey. The result is – unfortunately – a compromise. Everybody gets a chance to influence the questionnaire, and the influences are many. In our time working with retail clients, we have seen surveys with 30 questions – all pointing in different directions. Not exactly the kind of survey that a visiting customer would answer quickly while shopping.

The customers suffer

“Feedback is a gift” as they say. So why make it so difficult to give it? Customers that genuinely want to give some feedback on the experience they’ve had are often facing lengthy surveys that focus on everything from their socio-economic status to whether or not they were able to locate the new organic products.

curious organisations

The result is both low completion rates and the risk of annoying the hell out of your customer. You may even risk impacting your cNPS (Customer Net Promoter Score) negatively, which seems futile, considering the entire point of the project in the first place.

We have heard of examples where companies – in addition to asking their customers more than 20 questions, also demanded that each and every respondent give up their full name, email address and telephone number. But why? Would the customer’s experience be less valid because they were anonymous? In today’s IOT reality with transactional surveys popping up everywhere and surveys embedded on most websites, the competition for the respondent’s time is fierce. Therefore, each moment of time that you ask from your customer, should be well worth their time. That means that they should have a valid opinion about the topic and feel that they are really making a difference to the surveyor (you).

Less action, more talk

Less action and more talk may not be the ideal outcome of a customer experience management project, but none the less this could be the end result. Long surveys produce even longer datasets. Due to the many focus areas, too many people are involved in interpreting the results, creating a sense of shared responsibility. And as we all know if everybody shares the responsibility then eventually nobody owns up to it.

Take-aways for curious organisations

Conducting surveys should never become an objective in itself. They should merely serve as a necessary means to reach an objective. “Well obviously”, many will say, but in large organisations things have away of getting complex very fast, due to inherent nature of the organisation itself.

The assertive project leader should be asking herself and her group:

  • “What’s the purpose of this project?”
  • “What do we want to accomplish or avoid with the information this survey will give us?”
  • “How do we act on it, in order to make the necessary changes?”

Well, although these are valid questions, project leaders often don’t ask them because they are hard to answer and could in turn lead to even more comprehensive projects. In order to try to counter some if these driving forces, we have gathered some recommendations for curious organisations in the following.

  • Keep your survey short and focused. Read more about this topic in this blog (https://tabsurvey.com/avoid-these-survey-mistakes)
  • When changing focus of a survey, be sure to keep one or two baseline questions that you always ask. This will ensure continuity in your surveys over time. The questions should be key to your operational goals and support your overall business strategy (e.g. for a fast food restaurant: “Was your meal warm when you received it?” or “Did our staff meet you with a smile today?”)
  • Place your survey in convenient places for the respondent (customer). https://tabsurvey.com/improving-your-survey-placement/
  • Be sure that customer surveys stay top-of-mind in your organisation by involving key stakeholders and distributing relevant, easy-to-translate reporting to management and the customer-facing colleagues.

 

Be sure to tune back in again soon!

 

satisfaction drops

Customer satisfaction drops for the seventh quarter in a row

Recent trend shows a steep decline in customer satisfaction across the globe. Particularly America is in decline.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measure overall customer satisfaction in the U.S. The score is from 1 to 100 and it benchmarks industry level for customer satisfaction. Latest measurements show customer satisfaction has been dropping consistently for the past seven quarters.

The report shows that customer satisfaction drops across all measured industries in the manufacturing and nondurable goods sector. Though overall inflation is low, food and beverage prices have increased and this is contributing to lower customer satisfaction with non-durable products. Nearly all companies score lower now compared to a year ago.

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