Not enough companies understand this simple fact: Surveys are another form of customer communication.
Bad surveys demonstrate poor communication skills and create negative impressions for the parent brand.
So I’m always stunned when I see large, well-known companies field shoddy, poorly crafted surveys that besmirch their image.
Recently, The Weather Channel used an online survey tool to conduct some web research. But survey tools are like any other tool – its success depends a little on the tool, but mostly on the skill of the person using it.
In this case, the person using the tool needed more skill.
One of the early questions on the survey asks the respondent to rate several vacation spots. (See pic below.) However, the final vacation spot listed is, “None of these,” which makes no sense given how this question is formatted.
Okay, just a little oversight. Happens to everyone. But surely the survey won’t make the respondent actually provide a rating for “None of these,” right? I mean, surely someone tested the survey before it hit the field, right?
Wrong. Note the error message below (in red) when I tried to advance without stating my opinion on “None of these.”
And this wasn’t an isolated incident. Other questions demonstrate this same construction error (see pic below).
Finally, the survey also made the unfortunate mistakes of (1) being far too long and (2) punishing respondents for telling the truth.
For every vacation spot in which you expressed any interest, you were “rewarded” by having to fill out this nightmarishly long series of questions (see below).
If you’re like me, you look at all of those options and immediately think:
“No way. I volunteered for this to help you out, I told you that a few of those vacation destinations sounded appealing, and now you’re going to punish me by making me read and answer all of this for every destination?!?!? No way !!!”
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who just blew through the rest of the survey to get it over with, making the entire experience a waste of everyone’s time and The Weather Channel’s money.
In the end, every person who took this survey ended up thinking that the administrator of the survey was incompetent and unrealistic about their expectations of our time.
And those impressions reflect on The Weather Channel’s overall brand, whether (couldn’t resist) they like it or not.