Digital start-up aims to collate customer feedback in real-time

15 Mar 2012

Aidan Kenny, founder of Instant Opinion, a Kilkenny digital start-up that's currently engaged in the NDRC LaunchPad programme

A new Irish start-up claims that it has come up with the world’s first service to provide direct customer feedback in real-time.

Instant Opinion is a Kilkenny-based venture that was set up in late 2011. Founder Aidan Kenny said he set up the customer experience consultancy based on research he carried out into customer feedback.

Following an initial investment of €100,000, some of which Kenny self-financed, he brought the company’s first product Instant Opinion Hospitality to market trials with hotels. The product went from concept to revenue in 120 days, he said today. The service is already live in five hotels in Ireland.  

Instant Opinion is also one of the 15 digital ventures participating in the current LaunchPad accelerator at the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).

Speaking today, Kenny said that Instant Opinion allows companies to collect feedback from customers via freetext and email in real-time, while they are still experiencing their service.

Kenny already has over 20 years’ experience developing customer service strategies for bluechip multinationals. Based on his market research, he said that an “overwhelming” majority of customers who have a negative experience will not complain there and then. He said they will most likely never use that service again and will tell their peers about their negative experience.  

According to Kenny, no system currently exists in the world to collect direct customer feedback in real-time.

“The majority of systems developed to capture customer feedback are designed to collect that feedback once the customer’s experience is over. Once a customer has left your service, it is extremely difficult to get them to re-engage with you if they had a negative experience,” he said.  

“In the case of hospitality businesses, if that customer leaves unhappy and then decides to use a review site like TripAdvisor to communicate their negative experience, that’s a huge fail in the customer experience sense and can have a significant impact on business,” added Kenny..

Kenny said his aim is to install Instant Opinion Hospitality in 40pc of the hotel market in Ireland within the next 12 months. He said he is also aiming to launch the product in some of the large UK hotel chains by the end of the year.  

He said the service allows hotel guests to give instant feedback during their stay by sending a freetext or email from their mobile phone.  
“The hotel receives their opinion instantly allowing them to resolve any issues or respond to a customer request right away,” said Kenny.  

The web-based system also builds all customer feedback into a fully searchable database, he said. This allows hotels to analyse their performance and identify opportunities for service improvement.  

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic