Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cutting grass

Cutting grass is a weekend task for me. I am busy during the week so tackling the task at the weekend works well. However, now that I’m back in school, cutting grass now has to battle textbook reading and research for my precious weekend hours. A week ago I needed to concentrate on a particularly complicated paper so pushed the glass cutting task to Monday evening. Given that I live in Arizona, it was hot outside as I got started even as the sun went down.

Weekend grass cutting is a very different experience to Monday evening grass cutting, and I met more of my neighbors. I also met a young business representative, who was taking a very unusual approach to promoting his business opportunity. Wearing a polo shirt with the company’s logo (a well-known satellite provider) and carrying a clipboard with some company promotional information, he was simply walking through the neighborhood looking to talk with anyone that was out and about.

It was a different approach, and complemented nicely the junk mail that the company had been mailing for weeks. We talked briefly (after he walked past twice, and complemented my grass cutting efforts both times, I figured he was doing compliance for the Home Owner Association or something) and he made the comment that he hadn’t solicited me because he respected that I was busy. I thought that was cool; I have no interest in switching to satellite television (I don’t watch that much television to begin with) but if I had been considering it his approach would have engaged me to talk with him more. By not pushing his business he created an environment that encouraged questions about his business. Novel approach huh.

Survey questions

I admit it, I enjoy completing online surveys (yeah I’m probably a nerd or lonesome or something). It’s always fun seeing how different companies ask questions and seeing how many times my situation isn’t addressed in the potential answers section. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t engage with random surveys that appear in my inbox, but if the survey is related to a recent experience with a business and I feel that I have an opinion (either positive or negative) then I will usually complete the survey.

So what drove this blog post? I just completed a survey related to an engagement with a customer service representative from my credit card and one of the last survey questions caught my attention. It asked something along the lines of “Would you recommend [the company name] to your family and friends?”

Did you notice the huge miss in that question? Hint: Replace the word “Would” at the start of the sentence with either “Do” or “Did” and see what happens to the question. Now think about how I (and many other people before me) might have answered the original question; answers such as “maybe”, “definitely” etc. were the possible answer options.

Replace the word “Would” at the start of the sentence with either “Do” or “Did” and then think about the answer selection that I (and many other people before me) might have chosen in that instance. Notice the difference in the data that you are gathering – “would” yields data that tells you what might potentially happen sometime in the future (or not, as the case may be) whereas “Do” and “Did” yield data that tell you what is or has happened in the environment.

The point of the exercise: you might be asking questions and getting answers but is the data telling you want is actually happening in the environment? Try changing your questions and see how the data changes.

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