Offering up faster, deeper feedback

Adela Talbot

Surveys are not an effective solution to soliciting consumer feedback. And Robbie Goldfarb may just be the first person to figure this out.

Goldfarb, a fourth-year Medical Sciences and Computer Science student at Western, recently launched Brevada, a start-up that allows retailers, businesses owners and even doctors, to solicit what he calls “one-click feedback.”

For whatever service a company, retailer or business may provide, they can partner with Brevada, providing consumers a thermometer-like widget on the company’s website where visitors can gauge a metric with just one click.

“The big thing that’s always shocked me – feedback is a massive thing and it applies across every industry – but the standard solution for it now is surveys. No one likes surveys,” Goldfarb said, noting surveys are time consuming, often annoying to fill out and require personal information.

“So, I didn’t think that really made sense. My original idea was one-click feedback – the idea a customer could give feedback and give some input to the business with just one click. Businesses can separate themselves into different products, services and aspects, like pricing, availability, location, or a specific type of pizza for a restaurant, even,” which consumers then assess with one simple click on the Brevada-provided thermometer widget on the company website.

Customers can scan a barcode or search for companies on a mobile device, and by doing so, they can provide immediate, simple and anonymous feedback, added Adam Cohen, Goldfarb’s childhood friend and business partner, and a fourth-year Western student studying Accounting and Finance.

But Goldfarb’s ideas regarding the importance of consumer feedback don’t stop there; he’s also pushing marketing in his business. That means he is encouraging businesses to promote the fact they solicit and welcome customer input. This helps to build their reputation and brand, while promoting Goldfarb’s company with a ‘Brevada Approved’ status, he said.

Brevada service offers consumers of their partner businesses the option of providing their email, encouraging companies to provide an incentive for doing so.

For instance, Brevada recently signed Bad Boy, and the retail furniture giant can send out emails to customers who sign up for a delivery service, asking them to rate the service on any one metric they choose. For those who choose to provide their email, Bad Boy could do something like provide a $25 gift card.

As for some challenges that came along the way, one of the biggest for Brevada was establishing credibility, Cohen said.

“Businesses would look at us as students, maybe too young to be handling their business or dealing with other businesses and managers. So, originally, it was hard to convince them that we are working on this-full time. But we slowly started building up credibility,” he added, noting a feature in The Globe and Mail helped.

Making the website look as professional as possible while dealing with businesses in the most professional manner also helped, Goldfarb added.

Among some 150 paying locations with a Brevada service account are restaurants, a tattoo parlour, doctor’s offices, entertainment companies, cab service providers and retailers.

For companies that own franchises, something like Brevada is a great service as it helps the chain find discrepancies in service with a pointer on what needs to improve and where, Goldfarb said.

“Places that franchise out – like UPS with 360 locations in Canada – they can use (us) and see discrepancies between franchises. There’s not a lot of tools that are able to look at that, other than sending someone in.”

Story originally appeared in the Aug. 21 edition of Western News.