• March 26, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Greyhound Rides High with SurveyMonkey

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Greyhound, the iconic 105-year-old bus carrier serving more than 3,800 destinations across North America, transports nearly 16 million passengers each year. The Dallas-based company has always had an interest in customer feedback, but it was having problems reaching out to riders after their trips were completed.

Greyhound wanted desperately to hear what customers thought so it could stay on top of station conditions, on-time performance, and customer satisfaction, but its post-trip survey was 57 questions, took an hour to finish, and had a completion rate of less than 18 percent. When they did get surveys back, reports were lengthy, difficult to interpret, and presented too much data that provided little or no value to the company.

In time, the post-trip survey was sidelined. Greyhound’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) fell, complaints were not fully understood, and managers were left in the dark.

This had to change, and so in July 2018 Greyhound introduced SurveyMonkey Enterprise to work with its Salesforce applications to handle surveys.

The lengthy survey was replaced by five questions, including one about NPS and one open-ended question. Response rates climbed to 94 percent.

Greyhound brought in Thematic, an artificial intelligence platform that integrates with SurveyMonkey, to identify, quantify, and visualize themes surfaced in the responses to the open-ended question.

With SurveyMonkey and Thematic, feedback is much easier to understand. Thematic’s dashboards now highlight top customer issues, which has cut the time for station managers to read customer comments from three hours per week to three minutes.

Within a few months, Greyhound’s NPS was up almost 15 points. “It changed the way that data was getting into people’s hands, and it changed what they were able to do with it,” says Matt Schoolfield, manager of commercial analytics at Greyhound.

With the previous surveys, Greyhound produced manual reports that looked like giant report cards; they were very difficult to read and contained a lot of extraneous data.

Today, between 85 percent and 90 percent of station managers log in daily to get a customer view of specific stations in their cities. Instead of reading through thousands of comments, Greyhound analysts, station managers, and executives can all log in to Thematic dashboards to quickly uncover trends affecting customer loyalty and satisfaction.

In one instance, Thematic tied restroom complaints at one station to a drop in NPS. Bathrooms were clean, but having only one janitor on duty meant that 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 manager took action, NPS shot up significantly, according to Schoolfield.

Schoolfield also refined the way post-trip surveys went out to passengers. “Today, we send a post-trip survey email 24 hours after a trip is completed,” he says. “It’s triggered inside of Salesforce so it can be personalized and identifies that a trip has been completed.”

The link in the email brings in about 85 percent of Greyhound’s responses.

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

“We recently ran a big churn survey through SurveyMonkey,” Schoolfield recalls. “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?”

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

Schoolfield also 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,” he says. 

The Payoff

Since implementing SurveyMonkey's and Thematic's surveying tools, Greyhound has seen the following results:

  • survey response rates went from 18 percent to 94 percent;
  • the time for station managers to read customer comments went from three hours per week to three minutes; and
  • its Net Promoter Score jumped 15 points.

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