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Tenant Surveys 129 · Alleviate confidentiality concerns. The survey should be conducted by a third party with an assurance that all responses will be kept confidential and information will only be released in aggregate form so that responses from individual tenants cannot be identified. It may be use- ful to include some information about the survey organization to show that it is a respected organization with much to lose by breaking the confidentiality commitment. · If conducting a Web-based survey, use software that allows respondents to save partially com- pleted responses and complete them at a later time. · Follow up with non-responding tenants. Initially this can take the form of email reminders, but should include a telephone call if nothing has been received after two or three reminders. The telephone call would be a good opportunity to attempt to obtain at least an estimate of the number of employees or gross revenue for those declining to complete the survey. · Give recipients adequate time to respond. The deadline for responding should allow sufficient time for people on vacation, leave, or work-related trips to respond when they return. Two weeks is a reasonable period, increased to three weeks in July and August or around Christmas (although it is preferable not to schedule tenant surveys during these periods if possible). Reminders should be sent weekly, with a final reminder within 48 hours of the survey's closing time. 7.6 Survey Budget Tenant surveys are relatively inexpensive to conduct using an Internet approach, but costs can increase significantly if initial response rates are low and many telephone follow-up calls are required. The budget for tenant surveys will include the following components: survey design and plan- ning, including development of tenant lists; questionnaire design, testing, loading onto a survey website; follow-up of non-respondents; checking and analysis of responses; and reporting and presentation of findings. (See Chapter 2 for a more detailed discussion of budgeting.) Costs will vary depending on the collection method, sampling method, size of the sample (less so for Web-based surveys), difficulty in developing tenant lists, and the initial response rate. How- ever, for a typical Web-based survey with 10 to 20 questions where email addresses can be pro- vided by the airport and telephone follow-up is only required for 25% of tenants, costs might be approximately: · $8,000 for a survey of 50 tenants. · $12,000 for a survey of 100 tenants. · $15,000 for a survey of 150 tenants. · $18,000 for a survey of 200 tenants. If the tenant survey is conducted on a regular basis, some items--such as survey questionnaire development and implementing it on the website--may entail minimal costs after the first sur- vey. The start-up costs that could be avoided in subsequent surveys are typically in the $2,000 to $5,000 range. Costs could be less if the initial response rate is very high or if non-respondents are followed up via email only. However, if response rates are low, the confidence in the results will be reduced and there will be additional costs for the analysis of non-responses. 7.7 Mystery Shopper A mystery shopper survey is a very different type of tenant survey from the tenant feedback and economic impact surveys discussed above.
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130 Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys A mystery shopper survey is part of an overall program to assess the performance of concessions and identify deficient areas and specific improvements that could be made. The purpose of a mys- tery shopper survey is to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, employee integrity, merchandising, and product quality of airport concessionaires. Product returns are also conducted where possible. Each concession is "shopped" at least twice--once during a busy period and once during a slower period. By shopping the store at least twice at different times, the survey staff will likely encounter different employees. Mystery shopper surveys are usually conducted on an ongo- ing basis every three or six months. The types of information collected on each concession include the following: · Staff attributes--such as the greeting and assistance given, friendliness, courteousness and appearance, helpfulness, knowledge of the store's products, and whether a uniform or name badge was worn. · Product selection--range, quality, display, items available and easy to find, prices clearly marked either on or in front of items. · Purchase/checkout--length of queue, time in queue and being served, whether cashier stated purchase total and offered a bag and receipt, and whether transaction was accurate. · Returns--whether returns are accepted, length of queue, duration of transaction, staff knowl- edge of the return process, accuracy of refund, whether customer was asked why the product was returned, and whether staff suggested another product where appropriate. The mystery shoppers assess the concession while making a purchase or return, and immedi- ately after leaving the store answer a series of questions related to each attribute, with most attri- butes simply requiring a numerical ranking, a yes/no answer, or time duration. Price comparisons can also be made with similar off-airport stores or with other airports. Usually more than one shopper is used and each assesses a concession once. Some of the ques- tions call for judgment (e.g., "friendliness of greeting"), and using a number of survey staff reduces dependence on a single opinion. It is essential that survey staff go through a training session with the supervisor, so that they fully understand exactly what they should be looking for when rating an attribute and there will be some consistency in the results. The shoppers also should provide comments or explanations where relevant, especially if poor ratings are given. These comments will be particularly useful when identifying specific improvements to be made. When analyzing the results, both the average score and any variation between scores should be considered. One low score may not be cause for concern, but if a number of shoppers give a low score, or other related attributes also receive low scores, further examination should be con- ducted. These concessions should be surveyed again to determine if the poor rating is a trend or an anomaly. The main advantage of mystery shopper surveys is that they provide assessments of the detailed attributes of concessions. Respondents to air passenger or employee surveys generally will not be able to recall these attributes in such detail or will not be able to answer this type of question due to time constraints. Mystery shopper surveys can be used in conjunction with pas- senger satisfaction surveys to identify areas with deficiencies as well as specific improvements that could be made. The major disadvantages of mystery shopper surveys are that a very limited number of shop- per surveys of a concession are made, many of the assessments rely on judgment, and the rating is dependent on the person making the assessment. Thus if there is significant variation in ser- vice quality over time, or in how the mystery shoppers rate the same attribute, the resulting rat- ings may not be accurate. Results can be skewed if an infrequent event occurs during a particular survey. The variation between mystery shoppers can be reduced with good training and by select- ing survey staff that are typical of the profile of airport concession users.