Customer satisfaction is just an app away

MADRID -- New start-up Emtrics streamlines customer satisfaction surveys with the simple use of your smartphone.

MADRID--Emtrics: because your opinion matters. That's the slogan of the smart customer feedback start-up which uses QR codes to let patrons rate customer service in the moment.

"Our goal is that when we go to a shop or restaurant, we want to get what we want," said co-owner Eduard Giménez. He says that businesses have undercover customers and annual surveys, but that customer service is "not one size fits all."

Emtrics is quicks and easy, as customers can scan the QR code while inside the store or restaurant and click on simple ratings like smiley and sad faces, weighing in on things like service and conditions in a matter of a minute or two.

It all started a couple years ago, Giménez was on a Renfe train when he got the idea. He and his friends were taking a day trip to history Toledo, when a Renfe staff member asked him to take a customer survey. "It lasted the whole trip--maybe 150 questions," he said. His friends started complaining to him to hurry up, while Giménez thought, "There must be a better way."

This frustrating experience sparked Giménez to think of how to use modern technology at more optimal times to make the important opinion-gathering process efficiently. Giménez started to work with the idea that tablets and iPads could be used to gather client feedback at waiting times. It could be an entertaining outlet at times of customer impatience, whether it is a doctor's office or in line at the grocery store. (Spain does not have tabloids and magazines at the check out to distract customers.)

While working at Tuenti (the Spanish, more or less, equivalent to Facebook,) Giménez was trying to develop his idea on the side, but found no time. Meanwhile, he was introduced to his future partner Iñigo Serrano, an ex-Telefónica executive, who had a complimentary idea for a smartphone-driven social network that ranks professionals, like plumbers, at the time of service.

After contemplating combining the two ideas, the pair learned of Telefónica’s Wayra Project, which supports, funds and motivates technological start-ups, previously discussed on SmartPlanet . Like a true Spaniard (mañana, mañana,) Giménez waited until the final day to apply, but was still chosen as one of the top 30 finalists of the nearly 600 applicants in Spain.

Eventually, Emtrics--which stands for "empathy + metrics"--was chosen as one of the the top ten projects for Spain's first season of Wayra. "I didn't need Wayra to keep going on" with the customer feedback project, Giménez said. He would have kept going with the project because he believed in it, whether he had funding or not. In fact, he left his position with Tuenti in February in order to create this start-up, while he had not even heard of Wayra until late Spring. Giménez believes his passion and drive for his app was essential to being one of the chosen finalists.

Fast forward to the present, two months into their Wayra-sponsored start-up, Emtrics is fully into its alpha stage. Their visual response system uses faces--happy, sad and indifferent ones--to rate Madrid small businesses. Since initiating the first stage last week, smartphone-owning customers of a high-end gentlemen's clothing store, of the restaurant SushiWakka, and of catering and event space Siluro Concept have been able to offer their two cents. They can share multiple choice opinions or elaborate on negative ones about things such as customer service and the quality of products and facilities. By simply scanning the "world's new barcode"--the Quick Response Code--clients can now reply in the moment to quick questionnaires. If service is slow or the bathrooms are dirty OR if the wait staff is simply lovely, customers can offer their input to management through the EMtrics system.

SmartPlanet sat down with Giménez in the beautiful 1920s Telefónica flagship building on Gran Vía. The ten Wayra start-ups are located on the eighth floor, immersed in a hipster heaven of mismatched chairs and chalkboard-walled "officles," equipped with a plywood bar, a retro-chic Union Jack fridge, and a spectacular view of Madrid.

For now, Iñigo's social media ranking platform and Giménez's tablet project are on the back burner, while they look forward to a couple more years fully developing Emtrics from the ground up.

The next step is a closed beta in early Spring, where they intend to start charging customers, followed by opening the company to the public in June. Emtrics is targeting public transit, hotels, restaurants, airlines and stores.

"This will work almost anywhere," Giménez said.  Because, we know, everyone loves to give their opinion!

Photos: Eva San Juan

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com