Y Combinator-backed Posmetrics, a new tool to help brick-and-mortar businesses collect customer feedback via the iPad, is today making its public debut. The company has designed its online surveys to run on the tablet form factor, and be simple and fast enough that a customer could complete a survey while at a business’s point-of-sale or checkout. Initially, the startup is targeting hotels, but says its platform would also work in retail, at restaurants, airlines, or any where else where there’s interaction between the business and the consumer.
Posmetrics began as a computer science project from two Harvard underclassman, Merrill Lutsky (CEO) and Erik Schluntz (CFO), who felt that the current methods businesses use to collect customer feedback were broken.
“The two of us noticed that every time we would stay in a hotel, get off a flight, go to a store or restaurant, we would get an email or URL printed on our receipts asking us go online and fill out a survey,” explains Lutsky. “Some businesses were even using a comment card.” He says that, like most people, neither of them would take the time to respond to these calls-to-action, mainly because they required a lot of effort on the customer’s part.
People don’t want to take a 20-minute long online survey, Lutsky says. So with Posmetrics, the interface has been customized to be very quick and easy – something that a customer can tap their way through in about 20 seconds.
Businesses interested in using the platform create an account, and in under 10 minutes, have their first survey ready to run. The platform even makes the survey design process easier on its corporate customers, by offering standardized questions by industry type which the business can use or customize instead of having to come up with their own questions, as an option. Today, there are around fifty of these standardized questions available.
At present, Posmetrics will ship its customers an pre-configured iPad and mounting stand, but the plan is to introduce an Apple App Store app for the service in around a month. That way, the businesses could simply run the Posmetrics survey on their own devices, and mount them how they see fit. Businesses pay a subscription fee per iPad per month, but the actual pricing model is still in flux.
Prior to today, Posmetrics had around a 64 customers who were invited to be early testers. Around 20 to 25 have now converted to paid users, following their one-month free trials. Others’ free trials haven’t yet completed. Haiyi Hotels, a chain that owns hotels in San Francisco, including The Americania and The Good Hotel, was Posmetrics’ first hotel chain to sign up, and is also now a paying client.
So far, the founders say their feedback platform is already outperforming traditional online surveys. While those may only have a response rate of around 2 percent, some Posmetrics customers have gotten up to 30 percent without offering incentives.
However, the most important thing about this platform is that it’s more than an online survey tool on the iPad – it’s a real-time service which is meant to give business owners immediate information about issues at their various locations.
“We offer a whole suite of analytic abilities for the business owners,” says Schluntz. “The primary purpose we see for this is self-tracking. So businesses can log in and see their scores compared between all their different locations, and also compared day to day, week to week, or even hour to hour.”
Because the system is real-time, it can also send out alerts when issues arise. These alerts are sent out over email for now, but the team is working on adding support for SMS alerts, too. In the long-term, the company’s bigger goal is to be able to provide its business customers with aggregated, anonymized data offering industry averages and norms, allowing them to have a better understanding of where they fit in with regards to their competition.
A member of the current Y Combinator class, Posmetrics has under $500,000 in outside funding (including YC money). The company has not received permission to disclose other investors, though Hungry Fish Media’s Daniel Wallace is listed here on AngelList (when Posmetrics operated under its former name “PollVaultr.”)