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Are Your Surveys Lying to You?

Both my children and I woke up Saturday morning with headaches and sore throats. Every parent’s dream: Saturday morning, our doctor’s office is closed until Monday and I was pretty sure we had Strep Throat. One quick search on my phone revealed a healthcare clinic at Walgreens that opened at 9:30. We were the first ones there.

As a UX researcher, I constantly evaluate experiences I go through and this one was no exception. Overall, I had a great experience at the quick clinic and would visit some type of clinic like it again in the future. There were some glitches in the experience that could be fixed to increase the experience; related to the sign-on screen experience and the database logging software the RN used.

Two days later, we were all feeling better and I received an email invitation to take a survey based on my experience at the healthcare clinic. Hooray, somewhere for my feedback! However, I found the experience frustrating because they asked me 20 multiple choice questions but never gave me a chance to explain WHY I was rating some questions very low and some very high.

Surveys are great to provide timely feedback and to gather large numbers of data. What’s missing from that data is the story behind it. Finding out why someone rated an experience low or high helps provide the valuable insight our team at User Insight uses to create actionable solutions for our clients.

Few would take the time to analyze an experience; they’ll simply try another provider or worse share their terrible experience publicly. Pairing surveys with qualitative contextual research is a great way to uncover user experience issues and identify viable solutions that solve real needs. If you aren’t evaluating your service or experience utilizing a method that allows your customers to explain why something works or doesn’t, you aren’t getting the full story.