NM811 Member & Excavator Survey Report

 

For the past 22 years, NM811 has engaged Cooney Watson & Associates, Inc.(CWA) to conduct comprehensive, independent surveys of a representative number of members. The purpose of these surveys is to assess member satisfaction with the organization, identify any needs not currently being met, and assess priorities for future projects.

This is the fifth year we have used an online survey to gather information from our customers. In 2009, we emailed 299 survey invitations to members. Because many members did not have email addresses, we also made additional phone calls to gather enough data for an appropriate sampling. The result was 96 completed surveys. Over the last five years, the number of members using email as an integral part of their business increased. This year, we emailed survey invitations to all 336 members and received back 147 responses, for a 44% response rate. Because of the high response rate, follow-up calls were not necessary.

 

Member Survey Report

The survey was helpful in assessing overall member satisfaction with NM811.The majority of members gave NM811 an average of 83% satisfaction rating by choosing either “Excellent” or “Good” marks in meeting their expectations in the categories provided.

When asked what they thought was the most pressing issue NM811 should focus on, a solid one-third of members responding chose public education, up slightly from last year. One of the most dramatic changes in this year’s survey was the increase in respondents who chose enforcement topics as the most pressing issue, with the number skyrocketing from 3% to 14.5%.Comments by the rest of the respondents focused on a variety of different issues. Twelve percent expressed no specific issues of concern.

Slightly more than 67% of respondents said they had no suggestions for improving the way NM811 operates. The largest jump we saw was in issues with “Mapping,” which increased from 3% last year to 10% this year (because the general public now has access to Google Maps and other free software, expectations are much higher that NM811 mapping issues should no longer be a problem).Concern over “Call Wait Times” (a new category last year) is down from 4% to 1.75%.This year, 37% of responding members offered comments about their concerns. surveychart1

Members were given three areas to rank as “Excellent,” “Good,” “Fair” or “Poor.” Respondents who left a choice blank were listed as N/A.

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We asked members what they thought was the most pressing issue NM811 should focus on. A total of 126 people (86% of the respondents) responded to this question. Thirteen percent of respondents thought there was no major issue. Public Education has been the most important issue for the last several years, and 2013 is no exception, with 33% of the comments once again dedicated to this issue. Concern about Accuracy in Mapping and/or Marking as the most pressing issue is down from last year’s 14.5% to 8% this year. However, in a later question, the number of respondents that felt improvements were needed in mapping grew from last years 3% to 10%. Concern about Enforcement continues to increase, up another 3% from last year. Once again, the percentage of respondents who said Safety and Damage Prevention was the most pressing issue has decreased, this time by 4%. Those concerned with 24/7 accessibility remains small but steady.  Respondents who mentioned various other (fairly specific) issues as the most pressing increased by 6.5%.

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Lastly, we asked members to comment on where they saw a need for improvement. More than three quarters of respondents saw no need for any improvement at all. The rest mentioned a variety of individual concerns, with “miscellaneous” garnering the highest percentage.

 

Excavator Survey Report

 

For the past 22 years, NM811 has engaged Cooney Watson & Associates, Inc.(CWA) to conduct comprehensive, independent surveys of a representative number of members. The purpose of these surveys is to assess member satisfaction with the organization, identify any needs not currently being met, and assess priorities for future projects.

This is the fifth year we have used an online survey to gather information from our customers. In 2009, we emailed 438 survey invitations to customers. Because so many customers did not have email addresses, we also made an additional 586 phone calls to gather enough data for an appropriate sampling. The result was 320 completed surveys. Over the last five years, the number of customers using email as an integral part of their business increased. This year, we emailed survey invitations to 4,595 customers who had called NM811 within the past six months. A number of those email addresses were no longer valid, and many chose not to take the survey. But, this year we had a total of 779 responses, and did not make any phone calls.

Overall, customers continue to be satisfied with the organization’s services. Ninety-one percent of respondents stated that their experience with NM811 was either “Excellent” or “Good,” up from 86% last year.

The percentage of customers who prefer to call in requests remains constant at 75%, the same as last year. Only 13% use the website exclusively or almost always to generate a ticket. Those who have used it infrequently seem to have had difficulty using it. There are still a fair number of people who are unaware that they can use the website to request a ticket. The percentage of customers who always use the fax to send a request has dwindled to .5%.Comments continue to indicate that 1) many customers still prefer speaking directly with an operator; 2) there are still customers who are just finding out that the website exists; and 3) the website ticket- generation process continues to confuse or frustrate some customers.

Wait times to speak to an operator continue to fluctuate, depending, it seems, on the time of day and/or day of the week. Wait times of three minutes or less increased from 32.5% to 41%, while the three- to five-minute wait times decreased 6%, from 35% to 29%. Calls with wait times of more than five minutes remained close to last year’s numbers. Some 2.5% fewer respondents than last year thought their wait times were unreasonable, but those folks made their displeasure known in the general comments section (Question 12).

Three-hundred-and-forty-one respondents left comments about issues they thought could be improved. Positive comments/no improvements needed increased by 1.5%. Comments about mapping issues decreased a full 6% from last year to 10%, while those about marking/locating increased by 3.5%. Miscellaneous issues saw an increase of 3%–many of those comments addressed personal issues or specific questions the respondent needed answered. Those questions have been forwarded on to NM811 management.

As has been observed in past years, most of the concerns mentioned can be addressed by more thorough communication with NM811 customers, most efficiently by email blasts or e-newsletters, or direct mail.

In summary, the survey offered positive feedback from NM811’s customer base, as well as identification of the issues that concern them. Respondent comments have been edited for spelling and grammar to clarify intention.

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