lean startups" and how one of their strengths is rapidly collecting customer feedback and implementing changes to their product. With online tools like Get Satisfaction, gathering the opinons of your users is easy, and now with InstantLoop you can even hear what they have to say with automated phone surveys.Last week we told you about "
InstantLoop is the recent winner of the Twilio Startup Weekend Challenge, a contest for companies utilizing Twilio's API for sending and receiving phone calls. Users enter questions and possible answers, pick the phone numbers to call and then sit back and watch the results come in. The service is subscription-free; instead, users pay as they go at a rate of $.10 per customer feedback with the first 20 at no charge.
New users can sign in with one of six forms of identification: Google, OpenID, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo and AOL. From there, users create a poll by giving the poll a name, entering in as many questions as needed, providing up to eight possible answers per question, and picking an introduction and closing message.
InstantLoop claims that users can record the questions and messages themselves, but I saw no option to do so when trying it out myself. Attempts to contact InstantLoop on this issue received no response, so perhaps this feature is still being developed.
After creating the questions and answers, users can either save the survey or enter in phone numbers and send it out for polling. InstantLoop also provides the ability to mask their phone number with a caller ID of your choosing, which may encourage users to pick up since the number may be familiar to them.
I tested the service on myself, and within seconds of hitting send I was listening to a computerized female voice asking me the questions I had entered just a minute before. A few moments later, InstantLoop had graphed my responses on a pie chart, and had created a list of questions and corresponding answers and phone numbers.
Certainly a small business can take advantage of InstantLoop, but until the ability to record personalized messages is activated, customers may be turned off by the computer-voiced calls. It would seem that since the product is still in beta that some key features have yet to be activated, such as contact management and overall interface experience.
Once these features are available, InstantLoop could be a popular way to hear back from your startup's user base. Additionally, it will be interesting to see if InstantLoop can gain traction as a startup whose entire business relies on a third-party API. We recently told you about Totlol, a startup built on top of YouTube's API that was damaged by a sudden change to API's terms of service. However, a similar problem is not as likely since InstantLoop won Twilio's own competition for using the API.
UPDATE: InstantLoop has responded to our inquiry, stating that the recording feature was pulled from the beta release, but should be coming soon.