Happiness with smiles

You can find "Happiness meters" in many places where people throng but there doesn't need to be a physical presence of people to offer service. 
This one came from an Australian website.  It has four categories; this is quite common, though some have two marks below "good" and one above.  Simpler ones have three categories, "poor, average, good".

Users of the service are invited to press a face to express their feelings about the quality of the service that they have been experiencing.  In the UK, they are widely used in motorway service areas and in airports - places with heavy footfall for all, or most, of the day.  I suspect that most people view them as a quaint way of gauging appreciation.  And, I suspect that - because they are voluntary - they are used when people are dissatisfied, rather than when satisfied.  However, I had failed to be aware of the serious nature of their use.

Recently I read an account of the analysis used by the company which installs and monitors many of these meters in the UK.  The data is not simply aggregated, but can be time-sliced to look at seasonal variation.  "Seasonal", as usual in O.R., means any kind of variation with time period, be it hour by hour, day of the week, time of the year.  In airports and other places, the meters can be placed along the successive stages that users pass through, so that those stages can be compared.  And the results from one site can be compared with another, similar one.  That aspect leads to Exeter's airport being judged the best for customer experience in the UK.

So what is there in this for O.R.?  Measuring, even on this qualitative scale, can identify problems.  Experience with such data can correct for the bias and limited range of a three or four-point scale.  And wise managers will want to deal with those problems.  But how?  O.R. can work with the options for correcting the problems, finding costs and using the experience from other sites to determine scenarios which will lead to improvement. 


Popular Posts