By Sindhu Hariharan / Entrepreneur Middle East
Remember the days when you were handed a piece of questionnaire at restaurants requesting you to rate your dining experience, or offer insights that could help improve service standards? At a time when we can’t hear enough of the “data is the new oil” maxim, customer feedback (be it in any industry) is undoubtedly growing in importance, but the touch points for engaging with consumers have seen a complete overhaul. Thanks to contemporary digital technologies, there are now various means for businesses to really understand their customers, and tech-savvy upstarts working in this market are heralding the change.
Nick Marshall, founder and CEO of the Dubai-based Twistar, a startup developing a smart customer feedback device, believes that even with user experience being a supreme goal for most businesses today, there’s still an “enormous disconnect” in understanding the customer. “80% of businesses believe that they are delivering great customer experiences, and yet only 8% of customers feel that their experiences are just that,” he says. The entrepreneur also feels that “[most] businesses have almost no understanding of who their customers are or what they feel,” and this is why he decided to leverage on new age tech such as IoT and machine learning to develop Twistar- a sleek, futuristic device that helps enterprises create “a deeper and more meaningful connection with their customers.”
Designed to work both as a product and a service, the connected device acts as a digital touch point helping businesses –be it restaurants, airport lounges, classrooms, hotels, waiting rooms, or public transport- ask important questions of their users to derive valuable insights. Customers can access surveys and campaigns via a sleek circular high-resolution screen with protective Gorilla glass 3, while on the client-side, the service portion of Twistar includes a business intelligence dashboard that helps enterprises “build, launch and analyze detailed surveys and user data in real-time.”
Nick Marshall, founder and CEO, Twistar
Launched in May 2017, and having filed patents for the technology in the US and Europe, Twistar’s development is characterized by what Marshall calls “moving parts,” with its team spread across Dubai, London, Shenzhen, Delhi and San Francisco, thereby supporting their resale partners across six continents. Despite this sweeping operational structure, Twistar has managed to meet its targets smoothly with the founder noting that they have moved “from idea, to concept, to MVP, to product and now pilots,” in the last 18-24 months. “We work with international resale partners who specialize in customer feedback and customer experience management solutions for clients like Marriott International,” he says.
“We are able to offer a new and unique solution to position with their own clients, and easily integrate our data feeds into their existing and client’s platforms.” Having succeeded in wooing their initial partners, Twistar also went on to sign more than 40 collaboration agreements over a threemonth period, adds Marshall. “Since then we have worked with these partners to understand where, when, and how we can make Twistar work best for them; whether their focus is hospitality, education, public services, transportation, healthcare, etc.” Not just that, the founder’s own track record of having established and scaled startups across Europe and Asia, and experience as a technology consultant over the past decade lends Twistar a boost in achieving its development goals.