The art of surveys in Paris

Author - Nicholas Vinther Skov. Head of CX Advisory

I am quite fond of art. Great art, for me, is when the artist knows his trade and his craft. During a recent holiday in Paris, I indulged my inner culture snob with all sorts of experiences to do with the art of painting – but at the same time, also the art of surveys. This is the art of using customer surveys to actually and sincerely make a difference for the customer.


touchpoint surveys at their best (and worst)

We are all exposed to a torrent of touchpoint surveys while on holiday. Surveys where you are asked to briefly assess your experience, for example with a purchase or a trip. My short holiday in Paris was no exception. I received several from the airline company, the booking site and the hotel, as well as from restaurants, museums and Tripadvisor. As a customer, it felt like a giant mess of surveys.

Sure, one individual supplier had considered my trip in relation to timing and content, which is positive; however, there was no coordination among the different parties. And that was negative and confusing. Something that those of us who work with Customer Experience should consider if we want to master our craft and avoid “survey fatigue”. And the arrow certainly also pointed at me. At Ennova, we ran a survey in 2018 to discover how significant it is when respondents have a negative view of surveys – and it doubled the likelihood that they would not participate. The main reasons for not participating were bad timing or that the survey did not feel relevant to the respondent.

when surveys and behaviour all come together

Now I just sound like a grumpy old man. I will soon turn 40, so maybe I am. However, my intention here is also to give praise since, in the middle of all the mess of surveys that flooded my phone during that holiday, one party stood out: The hotel. Here, the surveys and actions were in beautiful symbiosis.

It even started before the trip. Naturally, I had bored my girlfriend with the importance of choosing hotels with a customer satisfaction rating index of 80+ and at least 100 reviews. “Then we are statistically on solid ground,” I could inform her. I am after all a bit of a nerd when it comes to this sort of thing.

The hotel receptionist greets us with surprising warmth, and she insists that we sit in the comfy chairs and chat with her about our stay, so that she can make sure that everything goes well. She gives us an umbrella because she thinks it will start raining soon (and she is correct). In the room, I check my email. I have already received a wonderfully-designed and well-formulated email from the hotel, to which I can reply whether I was satisfied with my arrival – and it is signed in the receptionists own name. I reply and give the highest rating, expecting not to hear more about it. However, a few minutes after I replied to the small survey, she responds personally to say that she is happy that all is well.

Our stay continues like this for the five days we remain at the hotel. A beautiful approach to the craft, where small touchpoint surveys are used actively during customer service. It gives us a nice feeling that we are being well taken care of as guests. Not surprisingly, I get an email from the hotel the day after we returned - with a thank you for my stay and a link to a survey. I respond, and shortly thereafter another email arrives, which thanks me for my response and is signed by the hotel director. It is clearly an auto-generated email, but very elegantly composed and, once again, well-formulated. This makes it feel personal, despite the fact that I am well aware that it is just a template.

As always, briefly thereafter I receive an email from the booking site asking me to review the hotel. I don’t really feel like it because I am familiar with the booking site’s survey, and it is rather bothersome to answer. But, because the previous email from the hotel director had mentioned how important recommendations are for them – and had done so in a way that felt genuine – I decide to respond nonetheless. A few days later, once again there is a personal email from the hotel where they thank me for my response.

You might object and say that I received a whole lot of emails from that hotel. But because each email and survey was consciously designed to make our experience and stay better, I did not feel overwhelmed. Instead, I felt as though I was having a dialogue with the hotel.

To sum things up, what the hotel did so well is that they did not use surveys purely as retrospective quality measurements of customer experience. Instead, they actively and consciously integrated the surveys into the customer experience.

Now that’s real craftsmanship in my opinion.

Nicholas Vinther Skov. Head of CX Advisory

Nicholas Vinther Skov. Head of CX Advisory

Nicholas provides fact-based consulting to his customers on improving the customer experience. With his never-ending drive, Nicholas seeks out, discovers and picks up on the latest trends within his field – and shares this knowledge with the world in this blog.