Survey this: Are surveys actually helpful to businesses?

Posted 10/10/23

A few days ago I took my motor home to a local shop to get some work done before...

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Survey this: Are surveys actually helpful to businesses?


A few days ago I took my motor home to a local shop to get some work done before our annual fall migration from Wisconsin to Florida. As I was paying my bill, the service person handed me a computer with a survey on it. She had a pleading look on her face that made me feel that her job depended on me giving the shop a good rating. So I gave them 5 stars. But what really surprised me was as soon as I got home, I found that the same dealership had sent me two more surveys to both my computer and my phone. Talk about overkill!

Have you noticed lately that these surveys are everywhere and in every possible electronic form? I’ve found that when you visit a lot of businesses you’ll find a survey on your phone right after leaving.

According to Survey Monkey, companies use online surveys to collect feedback, find out what makes customers happy and find what they are dissatisfied with. They claim that surveys are important tools for improving their business and ensuring customers stay with you.

After getting a sandwich, I got an online survey on my phone from the local burger joint asking me to rate my burger experience. Always a humorist, I wrote that it rated far above getting a sharp stick in the eye. I also commented that I thought the manager should have worn pants to work that day! I would have loved seeing the area manager presenting that survey to the crew.

Many years ago and in a different life, I used to teach week-long photography seminars across the country. I used to survey my students at the end of the week to gage their reactions to the class and the material. Comments were usually “Best class ever!” or “ I really enjoyed the week, good job.” I never felt I learned anything from these comments. My goal was to make each class better and I never felt the students wrote anything that would really help me to that end.

Then I changed my tack. I created a new survey that would simply ask, “Tell me three things you enjoyed about the class and tell me three things I could do better." The latter part of that question offered a gold mine of information. Student comments were often positive, but at the same time, very insightful. Students might ask the workbook to be rearranged or certain subjects emphasized more. Sometimes they would even comment about the quality and quantity of my fantastic jokes. That survey really helped me become a better teacher.

So back to the motor home, we had a great drive down to Florida this fall and it’s good to be back in LaBelle. In order to rest my tired snowbird wings, I sat down on a bench in Barron Park a few days back wondering what exactly a swamp cabbage was and whether or not I actually wanted to try it.

The bench was warm and inviting; I soon found myself nodding off in the warm Florida sunshine. After a brief nap, I headed back to the house and sure enough I got a survey email from the park bench asking me to share my total experience. The survey asked whether I found the seat accommodating and wondered what it could do to better enhance my total park experience. I wrote that it would be helpful if someone came around with a drink cart and perhaps a soft pillow.

survey, surveys, feedback, business, businesses