Creative commentary plus crafty composition

The Survey Asks…

Yesterday I completed three on-line surveys, one from a movie chain, one from Canada Post, and one in follow-up to a phone teleconference.

The first came about from having attended a showing at our local Cineplex chain.  As we know, many purchase slips nowadays include an invitation to complete an on-line survey with the carrot on a stick of potential prizing.  There was a warning that it would take about twenty minutes to complete, and they weren’t kidding. Included were the typical series of qualitative, scale-based questions in which any less than positive responses elicited more scale-based follow-ups, at times with limited opportunity for personal comment.  The latter feature, often overlooked by those completing surveys in the interest of time or patience, was instrumental in getting a couple of points across – such as improving the men’s washroom or why I didn’t buy from the snack concession (obviously their big money-maker).

The second, via Canada Post, was in connection with our being notified last week in the mail that our postal code area is on the hit list to lose daily home delivery.  We were invited to send in the questionnaire provided, or do so on-line.  That started out with a few soft lobs about the declining state of mail volumes, then moved to the ‘meaty’ issues about CMBs (community mail boxes), such as: is location more important than accessibility (aren’t they connected?) or mail security, etc.; would you prefer a smaller, closer CMB site, or a larger, more distant one (tough choice!), plus some qualitative range questions in the ‘not concerned’ to ‘very concerned’ range.  We were also asked if willing to participate in a more extensive on-line survey.  I was interested, then proceeded to find out that not only was this adorned with feel good blurbs to make one more accepting of the service reduction process, but also half of the questions were duplications of those in the basic survey.  There could have been a note on the website, but I guess as a crown corporation it’s easy to be generous with other people’s time!

The third survey was in relation to a session I participated in the previous day, for callers-in wanting to learn more about screenwriting opportunities for those aged 50+.  Like the lower formality of the presentation itself, the more interactive list of questions was primarily open-ended. Given what he asked, such as how did we feel the call improved our understanding of how to succeed in this age bracket, what aspects were confusing or made the most greatest impact, and even how did we feel about the presenter’s approach, there was a lot of latitude to express reactions freely.

The first two survey approaches had clearer parameters based on the multiple choice format, but the third was the most satisfying experience.

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