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Pre-weekend dumb stuff

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:13pm

I don’t want to think about the tough stuff right now, so a quick diversionary post. Back to life tomorrow, I am sure.

  • Are you participating in the poll of the day to the left, or looking at the past polls?
  • Want to see something incredibly cool? Go here and definitely watch the video.
  • If you want to read an email showing how I really need to “get a life,” then click the “more” tag …


In college I sat in on a class of my girlfriend’s … it was on exams, surveys, etc. It was one of the best classes I ever had. It was incredibly useful in my years as a university professor and often think about it. The problem is, I cannot look at questionnaires or surveys the same. Well, I just got a survey about the same DME (durable medical equipment) company that I buy our wheelchairs from. Here is what I wrote …

Today is the second time I have received a survey from [third party] about your company. It was with a cover letter from you, I believe the first one was also.

I offer this letter as feedback from a concerned customer of yours, a customer of over 10 years (actually, the company had a different name in the beginning). I fully understand this is THEIR survey, not yours, but it is for  the betterment of your company, which, as a long time customer, is also in my best interest. Actually, it is my severely disabled son and severely disabled daughter who are your customers (decidedly NOT your patients).

I filled out the first survey, and it was rather scathing. I included my name and phone number, but was never contacted. I do not know if you or anyone else ever read it, but no one commented to me which is fine. One of the comments I made on the survey referred to how poorly the survey itself was written and I believe that, along with my poor evaluation of your company combined to have the survey “lost” or something.

So, in case you are still reading this, here is some feedback on their survey and why any information gleaned from it is actually, in my humble opinion, useless to you in your sincere attempt to “provide our clients with the highest quality mobility equipment and service possible.”

The survey starts out with “Background Questions.” Number one asks “Number of weeks using equipment” (bizarre emphasis theirs). This baffles me right off the bat. The last interaction I had with your company was your representative at my house discussing and ordering a new wheelchair. Nothing was delivered. So, number of weeks using what equipment? The old chair? Other things? There are three blocks for the number of weeks (i.e.: allowing an answer greater than 99 weeks), so it is referring to potentially many years, definitely not to the last delivery. And it is a math problem, how many weeks in 13.5 years since the first chair? But, wait, it gets more baffling. Questions 4 and 5 in this section ask about the “Patient’s” gender and age. Good, valid questions. Question 6, the very next one, asks about “your current state of health.” NOT the “patient’s”! We have gone from third person to second person, and this is important for later. Why do you want to know MY state of health, SPECIFICALLY not the “patient’s”? It is not valid to say “oh, you know what they mean.” No, I only know what they ask. Additionally, does your company really have “patients” or do you have customers or clients?

Section B, question 1 asks about the “Courtesy of delivery person.” The last couple of delivery people to deliver equipment purchased from your company were employees of UPS. They are very courteous. That may not be what the question means, but it is what it asks. I find UPS to be very courteous. Question 2 in this section asks “Ability to make deliveries when needed.” My ability to be here, my daughter’s, your technician’s, or UPS’s? Ditto for question three. So, if I answer honestly and answer what is asked, it tells you nothing about the last technician who installed things on my daughter’s chair, who actually was not very good. The UPS guy was great.

Section D, all three questions ask about “the Repair Technician.” Now it gets weird. The survey asks about the Technician (bizarre capitalization in my opinion) “who evaluated my equipment …” Yes, “my” equipment. Not the “patient’s” from the background section, not “your” from the other parts, but now a new self referential being, the survey writer I presume. And, to show my own ineptness with the English language, I really do not understand the difference is questions 2 and 3. One asks if the Technician was “professional” and the other asks if the Technician was “courteous.” I guess one can be professionally rude or unprofessionally courteous, I am not sure, but this is my lacking of vocabulary, not the survey’s.

Finally (still reading?), the “Final Ratings” in section F. The first question “Degree to which equipment enables you to better preform your work/activities” is a bit vague. Assuming the “you” is the “patient” she does not work nor really do activities in her chair, actually she does not do much of anything. And question 2 talks about the degree to which she is better able to care for [her]self as a result of the equipment. Wouldn’t you rather ask something along the lines of “Has the equipment been able to help provide a higher quality of life” or something? I love questions 4 and 5 in this section. Question 4 is “Likelihood of recommending this Home Medical Equipment Agency.” Besides the overuse of the shift key, note that your company is specifically not mentioned. That would be understandable if the survey was some generic one, but the very next question is “Degree to which [DME company name] …” Hence, question 4 refers to … what exactly? What agency? Are you an “agency”? Is so, why are you not named in question 4 but are in question 5?

Honestly answering the questions as asked, and randomly guessing who “patient,” “you,” and “my” refer to, would not give you the information I assume you are seeking. Putting in the “Patient’s Name” at the bottom appears to have no use, nor is one mentioned. Neither my daughter nor I were contacted the last time.

Also worth mentioning is that there is very little room for comments especially since they would be hand written. The return envelope very specifically says “Do not include … other statements … or other non-survey materials.” Hence, comments of any substance are not desired.

I am curious as to if you actually pay [third party] for this survey, if they actually give you the results, and if in fact they have some high school kids write these things for them. Again, honestly answering the questions, as asked, will tell you little or nothing about my “level of satisfaction with the services provided.” There is no real place to be “sharing your thoughts and feelings” as your letter states.

I honestly want your company to improve and succeed. I just ordered the fifth wheelchair from you for my children, so please understand I am on your side with this! Your letter does state “Feel free to express your opinions.” Bet it’s the last time I get that letter.

 

I really need to get a life …

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