Auckland business AskNicely offers companies a fast, email-based customer satisfaction response system.

Auckland company AskNicely has launched an immediate, email-based feedback system to help companies know whether their customers are driving away happy.

Aaron Ward and John Ballinger launched AskNicely from their Parnell garden shed in November and have since seen customer growth double monthly to 1000 clients, with no signs of slowing, according to the pair.

Ward, who has a background in corporate marketing, said net promoter score systems had become a key barometer for measuring customer satisfaction in a lot of companies, ranking service and product based on ratings from questionnaires, but often by the time feedback had been received it was a few days or even weeks down the track, and the lengthy questionnaire often put customers off placing feedback.

"Everybody hates answering surveys so what we've done with AskNicely is break all of the conventions around traditional surveys," Ward said.

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"So instead of having multiple custom questions we've got one question and instead of putting it on to a website we embed the question directly into the email so that customers just have to click the zero to 10 button on the email so we've made it really light and fast and respectful of the user's time."

According to Ward, the biggest difference between AskNicely and other surveys is the response time, with results from AskNicely collated and reported immediately so that any issues or feedback can be resolved.

"The immediacy is absolutely core to our proposition," Ballinger said. "So typically after you've had an interaction with a brand - so after you've bought something or called through to a support desk - what we do is automatically trigger that survey out so while that experience is fresh in the customer's mind their opinion is going to be strongest, and because we make it really easy for the customer to respond, they're happy to provide that feedback."

Ballinger said time was particularly important when it came to negative feedback for a brand or company, where leaving an issue unresolved could result in further complaints from customers and potential damage to a brand or firm's reputation.

According to Ward, response rates from customers using AskNicely were also up to five or six times higher than using regular net promoter score (NPS) systems, and the platform filled a previously vacant market niche for small to medium companies that could use the software as a service model on the scale they wanted from a free service for less than 100 surveys a month and scaling up in cost for larger companies sending out up to 100,000 surveys each month.

The pair see the company's success internationally as a good sign for New Zealand start-ups in general. Photo / Supplied
The pair see the company's success internationally as a good sign for New Zealand start-ups in general. Photo / Supplied

"Beyond any other marketing tool, positive word of mouth has become the holy grail of business success," Ward said.

"Until now, businesses unable to afford the six-figure price tags for NPS have put up with conventional survey platforms that get poor response rates (less than 10 per cent) and deliver feedback too late," he said.

"We knew the timing was right to launch an affordable, cloud-based solution that will deliver regardless of scale, sector, region or language."

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The pair had always aimed to be a global company and with 80 per cent of new customers coming from overseas and more than half of these in North America, where Ward said the NPS market was particularly strong, they saw the company's success internationally as a good sign for New Zealand start-ups in general.

"We're both very passionate about the idea of New Zealand tech start-ups taking on the world and while we're effectively going global from a garage," Ballinger said.

"We're quite committed to growing a business that's really small on the inside but can scale very large on the outside with customers."