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Smiley Terminal: How to Use It to Gain Customer Insights Onsite

Parvathi Vijayamohan

14 June 2023

4 min read

Customer feedback is the holy grail of customer experience. The challenge? Feedback comes from perceptions, and perceptions can change or set over time.

So any delays in asking for feedback will lessen its accuracy. And, it will become much harder to change your customer’s minds if they had a bad experience.

In this case, a real-time feedback tool can tell in a split-second if your customer is happy or not – enabling you to fix a bad customer experience as quickly as possible. The smiley terminal is one such feedback tool.

How does a smiley terminal work?


Let’s start with an overview of the terminal hardware, using the SurveySparrow Smiley Terminal as an example. A smiley feedback terminal has two types of hardware.

  1. Handheld terminal: A handheld device that you can plugin and use to collect countertop feedback. It has a simple UI of smiley buttons arranged in a rating scale.
  2. Freestanding terminal: A self-service customer feedback machine. This terminal has two features:
  • A rating scale to collect feedback
  • A number pad to input the customer’s contact number.
Smiley terminal
Smiley terminal device


You’ll lose out on the smiley terminal’s time advantage if you can’t act on it at the right time.

To help you turn your customer reactions into action, the SurveySparrow Smiley Terminal is linked with SurveySparrow’s software. This software will help you instantly capture customer feedback, flag unhappy comments, assign them to the right person for action, and present the data for easy analysis.

You can sign up below for a free trial of the software.

Types of smiley terminals

Touch Terminal

With the smiley touch terminal, the customer can share their reaction onsite with the press of a button.

Sensor Terminal

This terminal creates a no-contact feedback experience. Your customer needs to come to the terminal and point their finger at the appropriate smiley. This movement will activate the sensor, and the response will be captured.

Kiosk Terminal

This customer feedback device can be on a stand or kiosk in a prominent position. It is ideal for locations that get a lot of footfalls (like malls, airports, banks, etc.).

Leveraging the Power of a Smiley Terminal: Examples from Five Industries


Don’t you hate it when you scoop up a nice outfit at an online sale – only to realize it looked better in the picture? E-commerce is booming, but it lacks the gratification of in-person shopping for many.

For this reason, analysts predict that 75% of retail therapy will happen in offline stores. In addition, many brands that started online, like Amazon, Birchbox, and Zappos, have opened their offline locations.

A retailing survey on a smiley terminal is the perfect opportunity to:

  • Get onsite retail feedback from your customers during an ongoing purchase.
  • Set up real-time alerts for negative comments.
  • Compare the retail customer experience across store locations and set benchmarks.
  • Analyze customer sentiment at various points in time. E.g., Christmas shoppers tend to be “grumpier” than the average shoppers.
  • Spot trends and make the required changes at your store.


If the product is the driver, the service is the co-driver. It is now the new key to automobile success, according to Gartner.

In other words, a great car can lead to a one-off sale. But fantastic service leads to recurring sales throughout the car’s lifespan. A real-time customer feedback tool can help dealerships understand what they need to change for achieving this.

From closing the deal after a test drive to accessories, bodywork, and maintenance, smiley feedback terminals connect the customer experience from end to end.

  • Get buyer reactions to prototype vehicles.
  • Get customer feedback on vehicles after test drives.
  • Map the customer experience across showrooms with post-purchase surveys.
  • Monitor customer satisfaction with service quality.
  • Identify the top-performing services.
  • Trigger alerts from responses by dissatisfied customers.
Smiley button terminal
Smiley button terminal


A word about inadequate healthcare spreads quicker than a virus nowadays. So if you are a healthcare provider, you want your patients to be telling you about their experience.

This feedback will help you understand how your customers perceive you and take action to improve the quality of care. The result? Higher patient satisfaction levels, faster acquisition, and long-term loyalty.

Few patients have the patience to wait around after an appointment. Smiley terminals, located in the lobby area or near waiting rooms, provide a quick, no-pressure way of collecting patient feedback.

  • Enable contactless, paperless feedback with smiley sensor terminals.
  • Gauge patient satisfaction with the services.
  • Identify and fix patient challenges.
  • Set measurable goals for your staff.
  • Advertise additional services on your kiosk panels.

Public Transport (trains, metro stations, buses, rental bikes, ferries, airports)

We are running out of space for cars. So, why don’t more people use public transport?

One reason is that the end-to-end customer experience is not viewed as a priority yet. For example, feedback options for the Prague Metro, one of the world’s best public transit systems, are limited to phone numbers.

As transit feedback systems, smiley terminals are both accurate and cost-effective.

  • Enable fast, contactless feedback at high footfall areas – like airport lounges, metro stations, and bus stops.
  • Get onsite information from passengers about the quality of the services.
  • Trigger alerts for passenger complaints and follow-ups.
  • Measure and benchmark the drivers of customer satisfaction: on-time arrival, service frequency, vehicle condition, driver behavior, etc.
  • Plan the incentives and contracts of PT (public transport) operators as per these metrics.
  • Map passenger touchpoints to increase service frequency and the number of vehicles.

Education Institutes

There’s more to higher education than, well, education.

Colleges and universities also support the basic life necessities of students. So their responsibilities include organizing student events, housing, food services, transport, parking, classes, personal development, and every aspect of student life.

Placing smiley terminals throughout the campus can allow the administration to:

  • Collect feedback about all things college-related – from the quality of the cafeteria food to the efficiency of the campus offices.
  • Analyze student feedback about the professors and coaches.
  • Get insights on the effectiveness of their lectures and the current courses.
  • Filter the data by date to compare student satisfaction levels over time.

Wrapping Up

That’s all, folks. In this article, we’ve covered all you need to know about the SurveySparrow smiley button terminal, from the types of hardware available to the powerful software behind them.

We have also talked about how you can successfully deploy it in your business to collect ‘at-the-moment’ feedback, based on our use cases for five sectors. We’re sure you can think of even more!

Happy surveying.

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Growth Marketer at SurveySparrow

Fledgling growth marketer. Cloud watcher. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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