I took a phone call this morning on my home telephone number, a Virgin Media landline that usually receives calls either from my mother or the smooth American voice that announces â€œYouâ€™ve won a Florida vacation!â€
script-reader researcher asked me if Iâ€™d be willing to answer a few questions about my experience as a customer of 3 mobile broadband, to which I replied that I would.
And so Lee (that was his name) embarked on asking me a series of questions to which I responded during the course of our 18-minute conversation.
It became clear very early into our chat that here was an almost perfect example of wholly the wrong means being used to connect with a customer to seek the customerâ€™s views on something.
To start with, nearly all the questions were multiple choices, requiring me to answer numerically, ie, choosing a number on a scale (two scales, actually: 1 to 7 and 1 to 10 depending on the question) to signify how positively or negatively I felt about a particular aspect of my 3 mobile broadband experience. There were also many â€˜yesâ€™ or â€˜noâ€™ questions some of which I suggested to Lee should be â€˜it dependsâ€™ which obviously wouldnâ€™t fit his survey model.
With some questions, by the time Lee got to the fifth choice Iâ€™d forgotten what he asked for the first two and we had to go through things again. Hardly a good experience for either of us.
A few of the questions needed an â€œOtherâ€ answer, meaning Lee had to write down what I was saying. That interrupted the flow a bit, too.
I mentioned to Lee that I have a bit of a different relationship with 3, not only as a paying customer but also as someone who has tried out many of their products as part of 3â€™s PR outreach activities in the blogosphere. I have no idea if or how he included that tit-bit in his survey report.
The appropriate method for this survey surely would be online, one that would enable me to far more effectively consider the multiple questions by seeing them all on a screen. Iâ€™m sure I would have got through the survey in half the time it took for Lee to do it over the phone, saving both of us time (and especially me, the customer). Iâ€™d also have been able to save a copy of my answers.
When we concluded our conversation and Lee asked me if I had any other points to mention that Iâ€™d like him to feed back to 3, I suggested he tell them about this ineffective survey method. Interestingly, Lee said a number of other customers whoâ€™ve been surveyed the same way had said the same thing.
In fact, I expect itâ€™s Fieldworks rather than 3 who need to think about this method of surveying customers. I canâ€™t imagine it would be 3 who set up the mechanics of how to do a customer survey: Fieldworks are the experts apparently. Indeed their tagline is â€œintelligent fieldwork.â€
Not in this case.