Think of all the emails you get in a day or week or month. Now think of all the requests you get to “take a quick survey” or to give “your feedback.” Even as a marketer, you probably don’t participate in all of them. But, as a marketer, you probably respond more than most people, because you appreciate why they’re asking, and you’re probably curious about the survey design and the information they’re asking for.

For most consumers though, even when it comes to their favorite brands, the vast majority of online surveys never get returned – even with the promise of a reward.

Two things standing between you and the feedback you need.

Getting consumer feedback has never been more important. But getting that feedback has never been more challenging, for two main reasons. One is simply Inbox congestion: the more emails in a person’s inbox, the less amount of time they’re willing to invest in any one email that isn’t part of their job or what they’re involved in at the time.

The second challenge to getting feedback is the length of time between someone’s experience with your brand and when you ask them to evaluate that experience. The truth is, the further you get from that “in-the-moment” experience, the less likely you are to re-engage someone to tell you about it.

Think about it: how many times have you had a great experience with an online merchant, a product, or at a restaurant or event. But a week later, sitting at your desk wading through emails, even that great experience isn’t enough to get you to stop what you’re doing and take the survey. Even when presented with the chance to win a prize, and even when told that the survey will only take a minute of your time, you likely won’t be compelled to take it. Nor will the average consumer.

Get feedback during  a user’s experience with your brand.

The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices makes them perfect data collection tools. With QR codes at events and on product packaging, and with dedicated URLs linked to surveys, marketers can interact with consumers or attendees or employees via smartphone or tablet.

Ask a festival go-er their opinion of the programming or the lighting or the food…while they’re consuming it. Ask employees about the company retreat, while they’re still there. Quiz a seminar’s participants about what they learned…before they leave the room. Reward a shopper with an instant coupon for taking a product survey, by inviting them via store signage to scan a QR code, and answer 5 or 10 quick questions.

There’s power in collecting in-the-moment feedback. Experiences are fresher, attention is more focused, and for some decision-makers, this feedback can drive mid-stream adjustments to an event or communications effort or presentation content. It’s powerful stuff that’s worth its weight in gold.

Consumers are more apt to interact with you, when they control the interaction.

Getting people to give you their email so you can send them a survey isn’t practical when the goal is to collect real-time insights. Even though most people can get emails on their mobile devices, timing your invitation to take a survey with their interaction with your brand is nearly impossible. But letting them instigate this dialog—by responding to a cue during their experiences—you get survey-takers who made a conscious and proactive decision to interact with you. It’d be ideal if you could accomplish this without the user having to install an app on their mobile device. Data collection nirvana?

Would you install an app on your phone just to take someone else’s survey?

Instead of requiring users to install an app on their mobile device, real-time consumer data collection should begin with unique shortlinks and QR codes that users are compelled to interact with by a compelling invitation or chance at a reward.

These links can be printed on admission tickets, put on signage or product packaging, or flashed on a screen. They are the inbound avenues that link users directly to your survey in the moment they’re interacting with your brand. As you can imagine, the quality and value of the feedback collected in this way is much richer than info collected via email a day or a week or a month later. The latter method obviously assumes you even have viable email addresses to begin with.

6-second proof.

Here’s an example of how simple, how quickly, valuable data collection can be. During a new-product launch, a sweets manufacturer in the Netherlands invited consumers to a quick survey on their mobile device. Using a unique QR code and link to the survey, they incentivized participation with a chance to win a prize.

You can try the survey itself here – and don’t worry: it’s a copy of the real survey for the purpose of this article.

Harnessing the power of mobile devices to collect in-the-moment feedback is a powerful complement to how you currently solicit consumer feedback. By not requiring email collection, or hoping for uncanny timing, or that consumers install yet another app on their device, you’ll get high-quality feedback you simply can’t get days or weeks later.

Frisia & Survey Anyplace
Frisia customers took the survey in real-time, as they enjoyed the marshmallows