Sunday, August 2, 2009

Going Paperless and Wireless in Building eClubs, Customer Surveys

Most valuable asset of any business is its customers. For majority of the consumer facing businesses (like restaurants, hotels, hair salons, auto service etc), customers walk in and out of the door every day at the business location. Businesses always want to see their customers come back for more service, but businesses have no direct way of communicating with these customers after they leave the business location. Businesses also want to constantly evaluate what their customers think about their service. It costs five times as much money to find a new customer than it does to get a current customer to come back and do business with you. A satisfied customer almost always bound to come back thus improving the customer retention and loyalty.

Building eClubs or Customer Email Lists enables businesses to directly market to its customer base using low-cost Email or SMS Marketing. Taking customer surveys helps business gauge their satisfaction levels. There are few fragmented solutions in the market today that address these needs.
  1. Paper based eClub Sign up and Survey forms:
  2. In this approach, each customer is given a paper sign up form while the customer is at the business location. If interested, customer will fill in the information, and leave it with the service representative. The paper forms are collected daily or weekly and are manually entered (often by third party vendors) into the computer system to be used with the Email Marketing software. The entire process is cumbersome, time consuming, expensive, inefficient, and insecure and has the following drawbacks:
    • Improper handling and discarding of the customer information on these paper forms could lead to abuse and privacy issues.
    • The paper forms need to be collected, stored, organized and manually entered into a computer or other system to be able to use it meaningfully, which is not only time consuming and cost-ineffective but is also error-prone.
    • High barrier of entry for small to medium sized businesses and requires a rigid process to successfully implement it.
    • Often requires dealing with multiple vendors and solutions to be able to implement a successful eClub.
    • Paper forms have fixed set of collection fields like (first name, last name etc), and need to be printed up-front and are very hard to change.
    • No validation can be performed on these paper based forms for invalid entries or missing required fields etc. Customer's hand writing may be illegible.
    • Customer's would be hesitant to put in their real feelings about the service quality on a paper based feedback form. Even if they do, the feedback responses might be filtered at different levels before it ever reaches the management. A true measure of the guest satisfaction can never be obtained with this approach.
    • Paper based forms are not environmentally friendly.
  3. Web based Signup and Survey forms:
  4. In this approach, a Website is maintained to gather customer information and feedback. Customer is typically notified about the Website through the Receipts. It is left up to the customer to go online and take a survey.
    • Requires the businesses to have web presence, and proper setup to capture customer signup's and surveys online.
    • Customer must be informed about the website and requires customer to remember to go online and signup or take a survey. With life on the fast lane, this is the last thing on customer's mind.
    • Very low survey responses rates and the responses suffer from staleness.
    • Costly solution for small and medium sized businesses to have and to maintain a Website for eClubs and Surveys.
    • Doesn’t tap into Customer while he/she is at the business location.
  5. Phone Surveys
  6. In this approach, an IVR/Phone system is maintained (usually by third party vendors) by the business and requires customer to call in the phone number to take a survey. The phone number to call is usually printed on the customer receipt.
    • Is used usually only for conducting surveys.
    • Customer may not remember or be willing to fill out the survey once he/she leaves the business location. Even if the customer remembers, he/she needs to retain the receipt with the survey phone number properly.
    • Customer feedback may not be accurate (and suffers from staleness) if they take more than 24 hours to respond to the survey.
    • It's a lengthy and costly process for the business.
    • Doesn’t tap into Customer while he/she is at the business location.
Until now, there is no single integrated solution that solves this problem effectively.

Sterizon LLC a start-up based in Metro Atlanta, GA is revolutionizing the way Customer Retention, Loyalty and Satisfaction are implemented. Using a portable, wireless, Wi-Fi device "Sterizon wiZit", businesses can now securely, effectively and efficiently collect customer information and feedback right from the Customer's Table. Customer's signup or give feedback by entering their information directly into the Sterizon wiZit device. The data entered is securely transmitted over the internet to Sterizon's servers. The collected information is immediately available for the management to use and act up on using Sterizon's online web portal. Advanced analytics like Waiter's performance, Zonal performance, Location performance etc are also available. This is a zero foot print solution that requires no POS integration or additional equipment at the business location. The solution does require a Wi-Fi hotspot at the business location.

For more information, visit http://www.sterizon.com.