Can an App Make a Business Owner Wyzerr?

Customer feedback surveys aren’t usually enjoyable. Wyzerr hopes to transform the customer feedback experience with ‘smartforms’ featuring user-friendly graphs and designs with a look and feel more reminiscent of a game than a survey.

The ability to capture accurate and timely qualitative feedback from customers is key to a comprehensive understanding of business operations, which aren’t always accounted for in quantitative analysis. Wyzerr co-founder Natasia Malaihollo explains, “If you’re basing your success off of your numbers, you don’t realize there’s tons of room for improvement in other areas.”

Malaihollo and her co-founder Stedmon Harper began working on Wyzerr in August 2013. The concept emerged while Malaihollo was participating in an accelerator program in Syracuse, New York to develop another startup, a hyperlocal social media platform called Sooligan. A week into the accelerator program, the director approached Malaihollo and expressed concerns that Sooligan’s business model was unsustainable.

Malaihollo says hearing this tough advice wasn’t easy, but she knew the director was right.

“As a founder, it’s really hard to say ‘Ok, this company has failed, I’m going to stop.’ Because it’s in your blood and DNA to keep fighting and pushing, but I knew he was right, so I said ‘Why don’t you give me 24 hours and I will come up with a new concept.’”

Malaihollo admits she mourned the end of Sooligan, but encouraged by a fellow founder in the program, she quickly shifted her attention to new possibilities.

“One of the other founders in the program saw me crying and said, ‘I used to own a restaurant and when it went under, I thought life was never going to be the same, but now it’s ok. You’re going to get up, you’re going to start a better company. It’s ok for you to mourn, but you need to move on. Seeing her, my mood started to change. At midnight that night, my co-founder and I got on a Google hangouts, and we started brainstorming about what we should work on.”

Malaihollo and Harper considered the many challenges involved with customer feedback and initially latched onto an idea to create a technology that could ping a customer’s mobile device at the point of sale with a survey link. The next day in the accelerator, a local franchise owner stopped by the accelerator and when he heard the concept, he immediately signed on. With that encouragement, Wyzerr was born.

Wyzerr was then built out to develop a platform to capture customer feedback in a more user-friendly format. Wyzerr currently has 20 smartform interfaces, all designed to capture 25 questions in under 60 seconds. The types and number of questions can be adjusted based on the user, Malaihollo explains.

“For example, if someone takes a survey and says they are over 45, the text size will increase, the color palette will adjust to something more appealing to that age group, the number of questions asked will also adjust, because a working professional might not have the time to answer as many questions as an 18-year-old.”

Today, Wyzerr has transitioned from a professional service into a SAAS platform and is completing the Brandry Accelerator in Cincinnati.

“The accelerator has taught us to be succinct, and articulate our product well. You have to be able to convey your message in less than five words.”

Malaihollo’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to maintain an open perspective, especially in the face of criticism.

“Don’t be defensive. That personality trait really helps me in the startup word, I always want to understand why someone is thinking a certain way. Because usually there’s a reason they’re thinking that and you can probably build something out that addresses that issue. And as a founder, you have to listen.”

Could platforms like Wyzerr change the way businesses receive information from their customers? Let us know what you think about this new start-up by talking to us @StarterNoise #BizFeed

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