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This article was published on August 25, 2021

This AI-powered video survey tool might be the end of shitty products being launched

Devs and customers are both getting screwed. This could help

This AI-powered video survey tool might be the end of shitty products being launched
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, Spiderman, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/hi Tristan covers human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, Spiderman, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

It’s almost paradoxical. You find a problem with a product that’s so glaring and obvious you can’t imagine any rational person wouldn’t notice it on first use. Yet thousands or millions of people are paying money for it.

I’ll give you an example. It never fails to completely blow my mind that the Disney+ streaming interface on desktop doesn’t have a button to play the next episode of a TV show.

If you’re binging, this means you’ll have to wait for the credits (sometimes it autoskips them, sometimes it doesn’t) or back all the way out to the show’s information page and manually select the next episode.

And this is Disney we’re talking about, so sometimes the credits repeat in like 10 different languages – many of the kid’s shows have credits that last longer than the episodes do. What a pain in the butt.

Here’s the thing though: Disney never asked me what I thought about its platform before it went live. I would have told them immediately: it needs a ‘next episode’ button.

Unfortunately, getting customer feedback is easier said than done. I spoke with the CEO of a company called Sprig, (formerly UserLeap, but they’ve just announced the name change today) Ryan Glasgow, to find out how they were approaching the problem.

Sprig, as Glasgow explains it, is a product that integrates into your existing pipeline. It allows you to solicit user feedback across multiple types of media, and it uses AI to turbocharge the insight process.

In other words: instead of sending out emails and hoping to schedule a feedback session with users, or, worse, having to solicit product or service feedback from customer stand-ins, Sprig helps businesses reach actual customers, in larger numbers, with surveys that are relevant in the moment. And then it uses AI to generate insights in a matter of hours.

According to Glasgow:

The leaders in the space were founded over 20 years ago. A lot has changed. The existing products weren’t meeting the pace.

Basically, the traditional methods are too slow. If you think about the modern workspace, it’s obvious that waiting around for customer feedback reports to pile in and someone to read through them is a silly way to do things.

And the usual alternative to sending out emails and scheduling feedback sessions is asking customers to take huge online surveys that often have nothing to do with what they’re actually doing.

I don’t have a mortgage, but sure I’ll take your survey so I can read this news article. Whatever. 

The problem isn’t that we, as actual customers, don’t want to tell you what’s on our mind. Anyone who’s worked in customer service can tell you that we definitely do. It’s that our time is valuable.

And that means even someone with a vested interest in seeing better products in the world, such as a technology journalist with a toddler who watches Disney+, isn’t all that interested in taking surveys or providing feedback when it’s most convenient for the company.

Glasgow and Sprig are approaching this problem with AI.

Sprig’s new asynchronous video survey tool gives customers the opportunity to participate in a survey by having a quick video chat when it’s actually relevant.

Sprig’s able to conduct what Glasgow calls “microsurveys or bite-sized surveys” because its proprietary AI can not only glean insights from multiple languages, but it can use audio and video cues to generate data as well. This means generating much more actionable data than traditional surveys in a fraction of the time, and from far fewer questions.

Sprig’s products also now integrate with Figma, a free prototyping tool developers use to do interactive mockups of a potential product. That might not sound sexy, but this gives customers an opportunity to suggest or critique specific features of a product before a team commits to a design.

This means Sprig is an end-to-end solution — the only one of its kind, as far as we know. And it’s a bit of a fire-and-forget product. Once it’s integrated with your current stack, you can set it up to solicit users during specific events (at check out, for example) or you can use it during the initial prototype phase of your product.

I don’t typically get too excited about B2B products, but this one has the potential to affect me directly.

Maybe a product is crappy because, well, it’s crappy. But often, like with Disney+, the product is fine but it’s lacking in ways that would make the whole experience better.

That’s why we need a better way to get feedback from actual customers to the developers, in as close to real-time as possible, and at every stage of development from inception to shopping cart.

The quicker developers and engineers can act on feedback, the quicker we can all get back to doing what’s important.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go start the next episode of my kid’s show because he’s been reading credits for eight straight minutes and he’s starting to get annoyed.

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