Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Surveying the Surveys

On my return from my Swiss holiday, I found a number of the companies I used had emailed me asking me to complete satisfaction surveys. Specifically, they were Easyjet, Etap Hotel and Expedia (the latter of which I have used for many years as a flight and hotel booking facility, and once again came up with a great hotel – the Agora – in Lausanne).

It is tempting to disregard these emails – busy life, lots of other things to do etc – but generally I take the view that if they are sufficiently bothered to want my opinion, I should be sufficiently bothered to give it . This is especially true as I am always looking for ways to improve the satisfaction of customers in my company, and therefore I should not turn down the opportunity to help these brands do the same. Besides, the alternative was an evening spent completing next year’s BSOG estimate and anything beats that! So I set about filling out the various electronic survey forms.

Needless to say, they were all quite similar in their general style and layout. They asked broadly similar questions, but the one thing none of them asked was what I thought of the survey! In every case, this was the least satisfying aspect of all my dealings with their brands, which is disappointing since in every case my experiences of the actual brands themselves were very good, and all will get my business again!

So just in case any of their customer service staff should happen to be avid readers of this blog (which I appreciate is slightly less likely than the chances of me finishing the BSOG estimate tonight), here is my critique of their surveys….

Firstly, none of the surveys worked properly. At some point, something failed to load correctly or told me I’d done something wrong when I hadn’t. It was only because I was patient and I’m not frightened of internet browsers that I persevered and managed to get through to the end. Less patient people, or anyone nervous of their computer skills, would have given up and gone away long before I did.

This was particularly true of Easyjet. When I first clicked the link on their email, nothing happened, I just got egg timer. So I clicked it again. This loaded a page telling me I had already started the survey (even though nothing had opened on my computer) and that I must wait 10 minutes before I could start again. This had me screaming at my computer. How dare they ask me to fill in a survey then tell me I’ve done something wrong and must wait ten minutes to be allowed to try again?! Sorry Easyjet, I love your airline but this was a major black mark.

The Etap Hotel survey stuck on a question half way through. Twice when I clicked the “next” button it reloaded the same page, and it was only on the third time of clicking “next” that it actually advanced, just as I was about to abandon the process (and after many people would have). Expedia took ages to load, then loaded a screen saying they were creating “your own personalized survey”. Sorry, but there isn’t someone at the other end of the internet connection crafting away setting up a detailed questionnaire closely tailored to my individual interests. Please don’t patronise me.

Once I’d been allowed in and was answering questions, Easyjet went straight to the top of the class. Their questions achieved the right balance between general perceptions of the airline and airports, and specific issues about the flights I caught. My only criticism was that it was perhaps slightly over-long, but it was easy to follow but thought-provoking – a good mix. Etap Hotel wasn’t too bad at this either, but frankly the Expedia experience was pretty poor. The survey was so short that I can’t really begin to imagine what useful information they would glean that would actually help them develop the product. Perhaps if I’d answered one of the questions differently it would have unlocked a further compendium of questions, but the whole experience seemed entirely pointless.

One specific point for people compiling surveys. I much preferred the Easyjet approach of asking me to rate “very satisfied, quite satisfied, neither, quite dissatisfied or very dissatisfied”. Both Etap and Expedia wanted me to score on a scale of 1-10, but that’s far too detailed really. I’m really not quite sure how you evaluate the difference between an 8 and a 9. Perhaps some people prefer that approach. Perhaps we need a survey to find out?!? (Someone is bound to have done one, probably my old Data Analysis lecturer at Aston University!)

On the whole therefore, I would say I was “quite satisfied” with the Easyjet and Etap Hotel surveys (whereas I was very satisfied with my actual experience of both brands), but “very dissatisfied” with the Expedia survey, despite – again – being very satisfied with the actual service provided.

The real question that remains unanswered of course is why I was only surveyed by brands beginning with the letter “E”, and is this statistically significant?

1 comment:

  1. Survey is a method of gathering data form the common people about a thing. It provides the correct idea about the things. It will really help a lot of people. I shared it with my friends on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks admin for this post.
    Survey Providers

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