B2B vs. B2C Survey Apps

At Opinionmeter our focus has been exclusively on delivering Business to Business (B2B) survey apps for capturing real-time consumer insights at the point-of-experience. However, with the recent explosion of smart mobile devices among the general population, it only makes sense to extend our two decades of experience in building customer survey applications that benefit the consumer directly – Introducing the Business to Consumer (B2C) survey app!

At this writing we are finalizing a beta version of our first B2C survey app code named “TouchPoint Shopper”.  In addition to the feature-functionality of our B2B survey apps, the B2C app will have the ability to push and pull surveys in multiple ways.

Pulling Surveys: Unlike the B2B app that can only pull surveys that are assigned to it, the B2C app can pull surveys in the following three different ways:

  • “Find Surveys Around Me” – when a customer selects this button, they are asked for a distance radius (miles or kilometers) and the search results are displayed in Google Maps with waypoints indicating the Merchant name and location. When selecting the waypoint, the survey downloads automatically to the mobile device.
  • Search by Business Name – there is an input field where the customer can search by business name or survey code. When entering a business name, any businesses matching that name within the distance radius selected will appear as waypoints to be selected within Google maps.
  • Search by Survey Code – the use of the survey code is for signage at the point of sale, where a merchant can enter a five digit code which will download the survey to the customer’s mobile phone.

Note: all surveys can also be password protected. By default this option is turned off.

Pushing Surveys: In addition to pulling surveys, the B2C survey app can also receive pushed surveys – surveys the customer has subscribed to receive from selected merchants. These surveys arrive as push notifications to the mobile device – similar to a text message prompt. The consumer is in full control of this feature and if they have opted into receiving push notifications, they can always turn this feature off from the apps admin menu.

I hope this gives you a sense of the basic framework of how our B2C app will distribute surveys to mobile devices. We are also working on leveraging the camera to scan barcodes at the store shelf. The idea being that a consumer can scan a product’s barcode and in exchange for answering a few product-related questions, receive an electronic coupon that can be scanned at the cash register for real-time discounts.


Feedback Management Platforms that Leverage Real-Time Data

In recent blog posts, I’ve focused on the client-side of the solution equation– whether the client-side survey technology being used is device-based, mobile-web, online or even paper. We’ve recently discussed the advantages of having a resident survey apps installed on the actual device opposed to going with a more limited mobile-web or online solution – although there are definitely times when mobile-web is a great solution. In this post I’ll be discussing the myriad ways an enterprise level back-end portal can leverage the real-time streaming data pouring in from all the mixed-mode data collection touch points. For example, in addition to the actual survey responses being recorded, our TouchPoint Mobile survey app also captures by default the following data points: Time, Date, Duration, GPS Coordinates as well as any media captured during the survey process (images, video, sound recording). This provides our enterprise feedback platform (a.k.a. The SurveyManager), with a terrific amount of rich data to feed into our analytics engine. In fact, we even have Google Maps integrated into our reports so that clients can view the location’s geographic details for every survey taken.

Additional advantages to real-time access to point-of-experience data:

Real-time data transmission vs. Scheduled uploads (batch uploads): When you have a mobile survey app installed on the device, you then have the option of when and how your survey data is uploaded to the web-portal.

  • Real-time – Persistent Connectivity
  • Scheduled Upload – batch upload at specific time of day
  • Offline survey app capabilities – It’s also worth pointing out that local survey apps are not dependent on an internet connection to function. If the app detects a weak or non-existent Internet connection the survey data is stored locally on the device and transmitted when connectivity resumes.

Push or Pull Reporting: Now that you have data pouring into your web-portal in real-time, you can choose to generate and deliver reports in a number of ways. Keep in mind that all the reports are available in multiple formats such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF even Web.

  • Push Reports on a Scheduled basis: when pushing reports, you simply create your report once and then schedule it for delivery whenever you want, to whomever you want and in any of the aforementioned formats you want! This means you can customize your own report and save it as a template and then have it delivered by email attachment to an unlimited number of individuals. You can even tell the system to reach back historically as far as you wish to include whatever data set you wish in the report. Pretty cool!
  • Pull Reports – on-demand access: in addition to automating the delivery of your customized reports (i.e. pushing reports outlined just above), you can of course login to your account at any time and view or generate reports that include up to the moment survey data.

Real-time Satisfaction Alerts and Service Recovery: the system allows you to set trigger points within your survey instrument that when triggered – a real-time alert containing the survey question and responses, time/date and location details of the survey are sent via email or SMS text to any number of responsible individuals (or up the chain of command). This initiates a “service recovery” process. The SurveyManager also has a built in alert management module that enables managers to track the service recovery process (from alert to resolution and track their comments and notes for future reference).

Remote monitoring for support purposes: an often overlooked advantage to real-time access to mobile survey devises and survey kiosks is remote support. Our support engineers can establish a remote session and control the device in the field. This provides enormous support value, allowing support engineers to remotely manage and maintain survey devices in the field.

Offline Survey Apps

Lately we’ve been noticing a surge of interest in our offline survey apps. When taking a look at the inquiries for our mobile research solutions, we’re finding one of the dominant client requests is for mobile survey devices that have the ability to run in both online and offline modes. So I thought I’d dig into this a bit further to discuss the differences between online and offline survey apps.

In simplistic terms, offline survey apps have the advantage of running in both in online and offline modes, whereas online-only survey solutions can only run when a reliable Internet connection is present. For an offline survey app to function properly, there must be a survey app resident on the device.

In contrast to online surveys, when a survey app is installed on the device it solves most of the issues suffered by mobile web surveys (online surveys optimized for mobile browsers). When you have a resident app running on a device, there are many advantages such as application speed, access to advanced features (e.g. media capture, branching, multimedia, etc.) and of course avoiding the disruption of the survey when an Internet connection is lost or slow. Opinionmeter’s mobile survey app is designed in such a way that a researcher can walk in and out of connectivity range without the app missing a beat – if no Internet connection is detected the app automatically stores the data locally on the device and will upload that data at a later time whenever connectivity resumes. All this occurs in the background without disrupting the researcher or compromising the survey apps functionality. The one potential challenge offline survey apps may present is if you are interested in cross-platform compatibility. Given the offline survey app is developed for each platform, most vendors will not have separate apps for all the major platforms such as Apple, Android, Palm, Windows 7, Blackberry and Symbian. If you need ubiquitous use, then a mix of resident apps and mobile web may be the best way to go.