The need to measure customer satisfaction is essential for any organization. PART understands the importance of building and effectively managing the relationship with riders. To do so it needs to understand and meet rider expectations. It is imperative to identify the parameters which cause customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction and continuously measure them to bring about the changes needed on the basis of customer perceptions.
The Primary objective of the Customer Satisfaction Survey is to determine satisfaction levels of PART Express riders. Secondary objectives are to determine ridership demographics, price sensitivity, what marketing channel is best to target respondents, the level of satisfaction on specific PART attributes, and determine ways PART can improve services. Determining ridership demographics will aid PART in understanding its current customers, as well as identifying target markets. Understanding which marketing channel works best to gain riders will give PART an indication of where to focus strategic marketing efforts. Attribute levels will break down each element of the PART experience and allow respondents to rate each task, giving detailed information beneficial for improving customer satisfaction.
PART targeted existing Express riders for the customer satisfaction survey. Surveys were distributed to all Express routes, PART’s email list, Facebook, Twitter, as well as posted on the homepage of the PART website; designated to capture a demographic mix of respondents. 530 completed surveys were received and analyzed. Respondents are estimated to be roughly 50% of ridership and constitute an adequate survey sample size. The survey consisted of 19 questions, formatted as open ended, 5 point Likert Scale, basic demographics, and numerical questions (Appendix A).
Based on the demographic information received on the survey, it has been concluded that 60.5% of respondents were female and 39.4% male (Figure 1). The prevalent age range, at 26.9% was 55-64 years old (Figure 1). 72.2% of the respondents answered full time for their employment status, 21.5% and chose $30,000$44,999 as their annual income (Figure 3). When asked “which best describes your race?” respondents answered 61.6% White, 31.3% Black, and 7.1% Other (Figure 2). Based on the open-ended question of “Where do you work”, 418 determined the top 5 largest employers. Baptist Hospital was the largest with 93 responses, Wells Fargo, UNCG, and GTCC were second with 14 responses each, Forsyth Medical Center and BB&T were third with 10 responses, Forsyth Tech Community College was fourth with 8 responses, Moses Cone and Tyco both came in fifth with 7 responses (Figure 2).
When respondents were asked to “Rate your level of satisfaction with PART”, 92.4% responded Somewhat to Highly Satisfied. 4.5% were Neutral, 2.2% responded Dissatisfied and less than < 1% were Very Dissatisfied (Figure 3). When asked “How long have you used PART services?” 22.8% answered less than 6 months, 13.5% answered 6 months to 1 year, 32% answered 1 to 3 years, 23.3% answered 3 to 5 years, and 8.1% answered 5 years or more (Figure 4). 56.7% of the respondents stated that they rode PART every day (Figure 5). The Routes which showed highest were Surry Express with 32.8% ridership, Greensboro Express with 30% ridership and Winston-Salem Express with 28.3% ridership (Figure 6).
To determine price sensitivity a few new questions about fares were added to the survey this year. When asked “If you drove to work each day, how much would it cost?” 29.6% of respondents answered $15.00-$30.00. This was calculated by multiplying the daily round trip miles by 51 cents. The average PART rider saves $5,850 per year by riding. (Avg. Cost $22.50 times 260 work days per year) Of the 530 respondents 77.7% responded that $2.40 One-Way/$74.50 31-Day Pass was a fair price to ride PART Express (Figure 9). Nearly half of the respondents felt that they received a good value for the cost of the service (Figure 10).
An attribute table was used to measure the satisfaction level of PART Express riders from the following categories: customer service, professionalism, quality of transportation, understanding customers’ needs, bus operator performance, PART Hub staff performance, price, and convenience of transportation. These attributes seem to be going down in satisfaction rating since last year. (Figure 7).
To help identify the best channel for reaching new PART Express riders, respondents were asked “Which PART marketing tools have you seen/heard?” TV Commercials surpassed all other channels with 63.7%, the Email Messages was second highest with 42.8%, and 35.6% of respondents heard about PART through Billboards (Figure 8). When asked “What is the best way to communicate with you?” respondents requested that Email Messages and Flyers inside the buses was the best way to reach them (Figure10).
PART will review survey responses and categorize results to distribute to appropriate departments for further examination. After reviewing survey responses, areas of improvement will be identified.
With demographic information attained about PART Express riders, it is recommended that the results be used by the Marketing department to promote PART services to retain current riders, and to acquire potential riders. A demographic profile of the PART typical rider has been determined and should be used as a reference for marketing purposes, to determine the characteristics and interests of the majority of current PART Express Riders.
Many route, schedule and service recommendations were suggested and will be reviewed. From these suggestions PART should determine if changes suggested, are necessary and need to be made to existing routes. Potential areas that are not currently served need to be examined to see if there is potential ridership available. The Customer Satisfaction Survey will be conducted once per year during the fourth quarter of the PART fiscal year. Results to this survey will be publicized on the PART website and in a press release to the media.