No more pencils. No more (note)books

Ah, customer feedback. So vital, yet such a pain to collect and analyze.

Ah, customer feedback. So vital, yet such a pain to collect and analyze.

Entryware, a new survey tool from Vancouver-based software company Techneos, aims to make customer surveys less of a logistical nightmare. It can be operated on handheld devices like Palms and Pocket PCs, allowing field surveyors to key in data that can be sent directly to a central server from Wi-Fi devices.

‘Our biggest competitor is pen and paper – we’re basically replacing a clipboard,’ explains Techneos president Mark Cameron, adding that the software allows researchers to skip the re-keying step, thus helping to avoid re-keying errors associated with transferring data from paper. Surveys are easy to set up, so clients are able to do it themselves, allowing them to tweak as frequently as they want. ‘Anyone who can use Windows can set up a survey,’ says Cameron. Entryware also allows exported data to include words, too, as opposed to just numbers, making the exported data analysis-ready.

The software can also be installed in self-serve kiosks, which is how Victoria-based client BC Ferries is currently using it. Last summer, the company began testing an Entryware-powered survey kiosk in its new on-board Seawest Lounge, a quiet area with snacks and newspapers that travellers can pay $7 extra to enter, to gauge customer satisfaction.

When the lounge first opened last spring, it offered snacks like coffee, tea, doughnuts and pastries. Feedback gleaned from the kiosk indicated that visitors wanted a wider variety of snacks, including savoury items and juices. As a result, BC Ferries broadened the lounge offerings to include juices, cheese and crackers in the fall.

‘We gathered the information, and responded quickly – that’s the point [of the software],’ says Wayne Kondruk, market research co-ordinator at BC Ferries, adding that the speed of turnaround and the flexibility to move the kiosks around were the software’s biggest selling points for them.

‘We were looking for something that could provide quick and flexible feedback from customers,’ he says. ‘We’re pleased with the response rate – we’ve had about 1,000 responses so far.’

BC Ferries also used an Entryware kiosk at its AGM last year for participant feedback. They were able to see survey results later that day – a turnaround that wouldn’t have been possible with traditional pen and paper.

Other Entryware clients include Intrawest resorts and the Ski Council of Canada.