Top Names in conversation with Co-Founder Janneke (Video Interview in Dutch)

Apps, surveys, emails, it just takes too much time. Customers love to share feedback as long as it’s quick, anonymous and simple.

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The simplicity of feedback with TryLikes buttons

Following the popularity of likes and dislikes online, people are being asked more and more to do the same in the real world. The only problem is that when you like or dislike something, it’s not always clear what that particular opinion applies to. A dislike in a bathroom can mean that the toilet smelt bad, there was no toilet paper or it was too busy. Trylikes offers you the chance to say exactly what was wrong. ‘We believe in the simplicity of asking for feedback’ says co-founder Janneke van den Heuvel. ‘Not just by asking one question when customers exit the store, but by asking specific, tailored questions throughout the store’.

Specific icons tell you more

“Does the fruit and vegetable produce look fresh to you? Was the check-out line fast? People can tell us, by pressing the like or dislike button, how they feel. We can, in return, pass on that feedback to employees in real-time. This means that it’s possible to see, for example, that every Wednesday afternoon area y or z rates worse than other days or times. Should we then not give more attention to that area at that time?” TryLikes works with hardware, which means that buttons can have different designs depending on the locations they’re placed in. ‘For example, if we’re talking about the speed at the check-out, it’s possible to design one button with a hare and the other with a snail’.

Our power is simplicity and real-time

TryLikes doesn’t work with screens. “What we can see is that consumers tend to pass by screens in busy areas, as they’re afraid that the screen will ask them more than one question – something they don’t feel like doing. The difference is enormous. We once did a test with a tablet and 3000 people in one week. The tablet screen was frozen, in order to give the same look & feel that a panel would have – similar to the ones that we work with – and only showed one questions. Just 17 people took part in the questionnaire.”

The physical buttons work far better. “Our power is simplicity and real-time, which enables us to predict. With the collected data, we try to predict what will happen. At some point, our algorythm picks up certain trends in data, for example: on Friday there’s a significant rise in dislikes at 3PM. This means that we can send a prompt at 2:30PM to all employees telling them that in half an hour the store will be busier and to up their game. This way, we can solve the problem before it happens.”

Shops can choose to publicize real-time feedback. “We know a clothing store that does exactly that. It shows the consumer how their service rates that day as they walk into the store. That takes a lot of gut, but works really well. The same could be done with a produce area in a supermarket. It’s an important area for a store, and showing the rating could determine whether customers shop there or turn around and go elsewhere. Especially in a city like Amsterdam, that offers so many alternatives, publicizing feedback is a big risk to take.”

TryLikes has developed a test to research whether a company actually wants to hear the honest feedback their customers and employees can give them. “This might sound ‘heavy’ but we know that with the amount of real-time data we can share with a company, that it can be confronting: do you REALLY want to know what your customers and employees think of you? Or are you just saying you do, but once confronted with the truth, will choose to hide – a pretty sure guarantee of a backfire.”

Pitching is underestimated in the Netherlands

After careful consideration, TryLikes decided to take part in the Startup Bootcamp. “We asked ourselves: is this too much marketing? The Startup Bootcamp is good at painting a pretty picture and we had already taken part in a few startup workshops, as well as already having a client database. Our first decision was to not take part.” Then, following a conversation, they decided to take part after all.  “I have to say that we’re extremely happy we took part. We were able to connect with a lot of interesting people, who ended up being incredibly valuable for us. We were able to form partnerships with a lot of corperates. We wanted to build our network and learn how to pitch. Pitching is underestimated in the Netherlands, yet it’s so important. Especially when we decided to take part in the competition. What we were pitching wasn’t the most exciting product, however if you excel at your pitch, you can still win over your audience. It forces you to think about your story, but also about your product.”

TryLikes is now active in several countries. “We have a lot of demand from the US, but we’ve kept that at bay for the present in order to try and grow at a healthy pace. We didn’t want to take on investments too fast. This coming year we’ll start expanding further into the UK, Germany and the US. The US seems like the perfect country for TryLikes. “The US is way further than we are with things like customer experience and service. They’re far more aware that customers and visitors need to be treated well – whether we’re talking about a hospital or a store. They understand the importance of receiving data quickly and acting on it. You can imagine, therefore, that our product is even more popular there.”

At the moment though, van den Heuvel says that the game plan is to ‘bootstrap’ and press on. Finding an investor is pretty high on the wish list. “I think that in a year from now, we’ll have a more professional company and possibly an investor backing us. It’s time for us to establish our name in the industry. By taking it slow, taking our professionality to the next level, hire great people and be active in three countries. A year? We’ll make it happen.”

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