Using the ubiquity of whatsapp to gather customer feedback in a physical space

Posted on Jan 7, 2019

I remember the signs on bus stands that read – “call this number to report a problem”. I, and I imagine many others, never called the number; even if something was badly wrong. A similar approach has been used to report other issues as we go about our daily lives, including reporting issues we come across in toilets. Unless really determined, many of us wouldn’t bother. We’d just walk away from the establishment thinking – “that wasn’t very nice”.

I saw in an airport not long ago, a sign in a toilet that informed patrons that they could report issues using whatsapp. Instead of asking people to phone a number or go find someone, they could use their mobile phone and whatsapp. According to Whatsapp, 1 billion people use its service daily. There’s a strong likelihood that someone travelling will have a mobile phone and have whatsapp already installed.

Allowing a customer to report a problem without inconveniencing them (by having to go find someone to talk to) and with as little friction as possible, increases the chance that they’ll report the problem and the issue with the facility can be rectified. The establishment can maintain its reputation, and will not have to send staff to check the facilities as often. Saving the business money in staff costs, or allowing the company to redistribute staff to other activity.

This, to me, is a good example of mixing online/technology to meet customer needs in a physical space. It also shows how something that might traditionally been thought of as non-digital can use technology to its advantage.