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Greyhound uses feedback to improve NPS and drive business value

Greyhound uses feedback to improve NPS and drive business value

When Greyhound, which provides intercity bus transportation to 16 million passengers each year, first reached out to its customers for feedback, it hoped to learn a lot about station conditions, on-time records, and the rider experience.

However, the 100-year-old company soon encountered a significant bump in the road with both its survey and the platform it was using. The survey was 57 questions, took an hour to finish, and had a completion rate of less than 18%. The resulting survey reports, which were supposed to provide insights to station managers, were lengthy, difficult to interpret, and presented too much data. “The survey asked everything from what was your origin and destination, to have you stayed at a hotel in the past 12 months?” said Matt Schoolfield, manager of commercial analytics at Greyhound. “It was not valuable information for the company.”

Eventually, the post-trip survey was sidelined because it was too complex to interpret and take action on collected data. NPS (Net Promoter Score®) ratings fell, station complaints were not fully understood, and managers were left without clear next steps.

Schoolfield knew feedback was a critical part of improving customer service and that Greyhound needed to rethink its survey strategy. So he took the initiative to find a new platform that would simplify the survey process and deliver feedback to station managers that was both easy to understand and actionable.

Greyhound chose SurveyMonkey Enterprise to work with its Salesforce deployment to handle the company's survey needs. “We're a Salesforce company," said Schoolfield. "So SurveyMonkey checked off two buy-in factors: SurveyMonkey understands GDPR. SurveyMonkey gets Salesforce. That’s huge for us.”

Matt Schoolfield quote 1

With SurveyMonkey backing him up, Schoolfield replaced Greyhound's original lengthy survey with a new 5-question survey that included NPS and one open-ended question. Response rates hit a whopping 94% and the feedback highlighted top customer issues that the company needed to address. The results were significantly more useful for station managers, who found that the time they spent reading through customer comments went from a miserable 3 hours to 3 efficient minutes per week. “Within a few months, our NPS score was up almost 15 points,” said Schoolfield. “It changed the way that data was getting into people's hands. And, it changed what they were able to do with it.”

Matt Schoolfield quote 2

Schoolfield also refined the way post-trip surveys were sent. “Today, we send a post-trip survey email 24 hours after a trip is completed,” he said. “It’s triggered inside of a Salesforce journey, so it can be personalized and it identifies that a trip has been completed.” The link in the email brings in about 85% of Greyhound’s responses. Schoolfield even has plans to further streamline the experience by eliminating origin and destination questions and connecting that information by confirmation number in Salesforce.

Before SurveyMonkey, sifting through customer feedback was a challenge for Greyhound—especially when it came to open-ended responses. “We were sending out manual reports that looked like giant report cards and were very difficult to read,” explained Schoolfield. Station managers weren't motivated to wade into the difficult data and it was a strain on their already limited time.

But after one year of using SurveyMonkey, as much as 90% of station managers were logging in to get a daily view of a specific station in their city. Instead of reading through thousands of comments, those same managers, along with Greyhound analysts and executives, could quickly detect themes in open-ended responses and uncover what was driving loyalty and satisfaction.

Correlating open-ended responses with NPS and other metrics from short surveys allowed Greyhound to surface actionable insights that other approaches would miss. In one instance, the company tied restroom complaints to drops in NPS. Checks were done to confirm that the bathrooms were clean, but the negative feedback continued. Ultimately, the issue was uncovered in open-ended feedback: with only one janitor on duty, the women’s bathroom was being closed for cleaning for 45 minutes during the busiest part of the day. Once the real issue was identified and the station took action, NPS shot up significantly.

Greyhound now uses survey data to drive value at the corporate level. By tying survey metrics to revenue, the company has identified ways to uncover both opportunities and places to improve.

“We recently ran a big churn survey through SurveyMonkey,” said Schoolfield. “We wanted to understand what percentage of customers ride Greyhound once and don't come back. And of those customers that don't return, why don’t they?”

Schoolfield analyzed transactional data, and used a survey to find out from customers who didn't return why Greyhound wasn’t considered.

“That survey shed a ton of light on issues with on-time performance, ticket pricing, terminal conditions; whatever it may be,” said Schoolfield. “We could understand why our customers weren’t coming back.”

Then Schoolfield took the study to the next level. “We were able to pinpoint that an on-time performance increase on our survey score generates a specific amount of additional revenue. And that was a game-changer.” These results were shared with the Greyhound CEO, who began to spread the word about the value of feedback.

“It showed us how valuable survey metrics are, and how valuable perception is to our customers,” said Schoolfield. “And it pinpointed areas where we can make improvements to our bottom dollar in our profitability.”

Matt Schoolfield quote 3

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.