United Airlines Online Satisfaction Survey – a Study in How Not To Do It?

I have to admit that I often rant about airline Websites, especially in my “Emotional Connections” program – in fact, the whole idea for my “How Does Your Website Make Me Feel?” schtick was sparked by a page on US Airways’ site back in 2001.

This morning hit a whole new low when I received an invitation to complete an online survey about the Mileage Plus program from United Airlines in conjunction with InsightExpress, LLC. Since it promised all of 250 miles if I complied, I decided to give it a go.

Why was I so irked? Let me count the ways:

  1. In order to access the survey, I needed to enter my Mileage Plus number. That’s OK, but the first question in the survey was: “What’s your Mileage Plus number?” Wait, didn’t I just tell you that?
  2. The survey seemed to run incredibly slowly – I frequently had to reload pages, and every time I had to re-enter my response. I don’t know if this was my connection, or if they underestimated traffic levels . . .
  3. There was only one question per page, and no indication of how many questions there would be in total, or how far along I was in the process. Every time the page hung, I thought about giving up, but continued in the hope that it would soon be over (and that I’d get my 250 miles).
  4. Every question required a checked radio button, or a rating on a scale of 1 to 5. There was no free input anywhere, and no place that asked why I responded the way I did. Which made me even more frustrated – don’t they want to know what about the program makes me “Strongly Dissatisfied”, and more so than last year? How can they fix anything if they don’t know what the problem is – or maybe they don’t really want to know what the problem is?

There’s an art to conducting online surveys, both in keeping people engaged and on track, and in designing the questions so that you get quantifiable and useful feedback. I’m sure there’s plenty that I don’t know about what United were trying to achieve here, but as a customer being asked about my satisfaction levels, it left me even more unhappy.

Oh well, hopefully I’ll enjoy spending the 250 miles!

2 Responses to “United Airlines Online Satisfaction Survey – a Study in How Not To Do It?”


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