Last week, I was having dinner with some friends at Jakes Hamurgers. When it came time for the bill, the waitress said something that made us all reach for it.
“There’s an iPod in there with a survey on it if you have a few minutes.”
Sure enough, an iPod Touch was stuck to the inside pocket of the black, leather folder with what I can only assume was hot glue. An app was geared up and ready for our opinions and greasy fingers.
Now, we’ve all heard “Dial this number [waitress circles the bottom of the receipt] and take this survey for a chance to win $5,000.” But have I ever dialed that number? No. Even with the potential to win a few grand to pay off some student loans? Still no. But did I take that iPod survey right then and there, no questions asked? You better believe it.
Maybe it was my addiction to technology that had me ooo-ing and aaaahh-ing as we poked at the screen. Or it could have been the way the “thumbs up” and thumbs down” icons grew bigger and smaller as we slid a finger across the digital scale to rank the promptness of our service. Either way, the survey had our full, undivided attention.
“Wait, is this thing on Wi-Fi?” I asked, and my two friends nodded their heads as confirmation.
“OK, then the only way I’m going to think this survey is cool is if it asks me to share it with my friends on Facebook or Twitter at the end.”
I nearly had a social-media anxiety attack as we moved from one question to the next, my excitement growing at the end of every section. I was ready for my mind to be blown.
Unfortunately, just as quickly as my excitement had grown, it plummeted when I saw the screen say ‘Thanks for taking our survey!’ with no option to share it with my social networks. Talk about a buzzkill. “Well, maybe people would be hesitant to login to their Facebook account on a public iPod,” my roommate said. She had a point. The very thought of the next diner having access to my Facebook account sent shivers down my spine.
“Ok, then what if at the end of the survey, a QR code popped up that said, ‘Now tell your friends!’ and when you scan it, you’re able to share it from your own phone?”
We all stared at each other, quizzically.
There had to be a way around this. The restaurant was missing a huge opportunity by not allowing sharing on the app. What if there was a way to send these reviews directly to Yelp? Imagine what that would do for customer service. Our waitress was incredibly friendly, but it led me to wonder, was she always that way? Or did she just know we were bound to surrender to the touch-screen technology and rank her on everything from friendliness to her ability to upsell? Whatever the reason, her prompt service and positive demeanor led to happy customers which led to a positive review, which, if shared with my networks, could have led to more potential happy customers. Ah, the marketing funnel at its best.
When I came to work the next day, I told my coworker Litany about it. She said she had a similar social-media buzzkill in Australia when she was on a business trip.
“At this one restaurant, we placed our orders on an iPad. How cool would it have been if we’d been able to share that on Facebook? Or maybe check-in on Foursquare?”
Sears is another company taking to iPads to enhance the customer experience. With iPads on hand, the sales associates will be able to check product availability and give customers the option or order online if the product isn’t in stock. They’ll also be able to show any instructional videos or demos, so customers can get an out-of-the-box experience. Sears is hoping to use the technology to improve the relationship between customers and associates, but what they should be focusing on is the relationship between the customers and their networks. Especially considering the number of studies that have proven that people trust their friends’ recommendations more than they’ll ever trust a brand’s marketing or advertising message.
“Baby steps,” I keep telling myself. I’m no developer or programmer, that’s for sure, so I’ll leave that to the creative minds of those who thrive on the technical stuff. So until then, I’ll enjoy the baby steps and wait for the day that I can walk into William Sonoma and scan an iPad around the room to see locators for every single item on my friend’s wedding gift registry.