Want passenger’s help? Think before you ask

By | Category: Travel rumblings

As someone who has written hundreds of surveys over the years asking holidaymakers and air passengers their opinions of service, it really irritates me when supposedly experienced market researchers annoy those willing to answer questions by making the survey unable to be answered.

That I had two surveys within two days that committed this howler is a surprise; that they came from British Airways and then Gatwick Airport is an even bigger one since they both employ very experienced researchers.

Let’s start with British Airways who employ a research company call Nunhead to carry out their online survey after a passenger has flown with them. They asked two questions and asked me to agree or disagree with them. The first is that British Airways are experts in air travel. What sort of a statement is that? If they weren’t experts they wouldn’t have a licence to fly? If they weren’t experts the newspapers would be full of planes falling out of the sky. Their question is as idiotic as my glib sentence a few seconds ago. What was Nunhead or BA – whichever is responsible for this ill-thought out statement – thinking of when they conceived this question? They have another idiotic statement with which I am asked to agree or disagree which is, “I would speak highly of British Airways’ products.” Given I booked a flight and only a flight, as far as I am concerned there is only one product – the flight. It’s not as if BA sells confectionery or soap products or a whole range of things. Essentially there is just one offering a flight ticket to somewhere.

coming into Gatwick

Moving on to Gatwick, they have obviously written the survey themselves because they are trying to save money by using an online tool called Survey Monkey which is limited in what it can do. Here the problem is that if I don’t answer a question, the “system” refuses to let me move to the next one until I give an answer. Nothing is more calculated to put a person off from completing a survey than this shallowly thought-out approach. They just stop and don’t complete the survey. Yet two questions couldn’t be properly answered.

I was flying on my own. The question asked me how many adults were flying with me but I couldn’t answer “0” as they only listed numbers from “1” upwards. Lying, I said that there was another person with me. There I was asked to rate from “excellent” to “extremely poor” the “customer service you received (if applicable)” But because it wasn’t applicable in my case was I offered a “n/a” box? No, so the survey wouldn’t let me continue. Who is the survey monkey now?

I gave up.

But if I had to rate the ability of both companies to produce a functional survey the results of which could be trusted, then I would to rate them both “extremely poor.”

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