Turning inner space into outer space

May 18, 2014

Three Cents is a fun way to find out what your customers are thinking

For anyone with a product to sell, one of the most valuable things you can possibly receive is customer feedback. You can use this information to tweak your offering with the goal of selling more of it.

But getting people to fill out surveys is not always easy. Whenever I take my car in for service, for example, I find an email in my inbox the next day asking me to fill out a survey on how well they did. Unless they’re offering a free oil change, I’m not likely to go through with it.

Now, giving out free stuff to persuade clients to fill in a survey is not, of course, always cost effective. So is there a way around this conundrum? Well, what if you made it fun?

There’s a new iPhone app called Three Cents that does just that.

Fire it up and you’re presented with a stream of surveys created by users covering all manner of topics. And they’re just the type of questions you would expect from ordinary folks: What’s your favourite song? Which era had the best music?

Wait a minute — what’s this? Someone has asked which is the best medicine for your headache. And the five options are all brands. Could a marketing department be on the loose?

In any case, it’s one of the most-answered questions in the Three Cents stream as of this writing. So if the Tylenol people are looking for feedback they may have met with some success. Or maybe it was the Panadol people looking to make people more aware of their product.

I tried my own survey question, and received more responses than I expected. As you can see from the accompanying picture, over 50 people voted in the space of three hours — and more will likely chime in later.

So what makes it fun? For one thing, most of the questions are asked by users who are genuinely curious. So if you’re going to join in, keep your surveys in that spirit.

For another, the surveys are typically accompanied by pictures that the app can track down for you using the Bing search engine. Or you can use photos you’ve taken yourself. And there are plenty of other options: Places from Yelp, destinations from Trip Advisor, movies from Rotten Tomatoes, music from iTunes, apps from the App Store and books from iBooks.

The developers of Three Cents have wisely allowed users to post their questions on Twitter and Facebook. This ensures that you’ll get a better response rate because, let’s face it, not a lot of people have heard of Three Cents — at least not yet.

This is certainly not what you’d call a scientific way of getting customer feedback, but it looks like a good way to bring in some quick hits.