Dying a slow, due diligence death via surveys

Is anyone else sick of being asked his/her opinion about everything under the sun and over the moon? Holy O! As in short for “opinion,” stemming from “opinion poll.” Market researchers are on a relentless roll to get us to give up the ghostess of the mostess that rhymes with Hostess, or, “So, ma’am, how did you like those Twinkies?”

Just when you thought Twinkies had gone by the wayside, I am here to announce they remain symbolically alive and well and as fluffily devoid of nutrition as ever in the form of bogus information gathering. And I’m their target. So are you and whoever else comes within 10-foot polling distance.

Is my opinion so very important as one of their “valued customers?” They would certainly like me to think so, whoever the “they” is behind the great and powerful survey machine. I’m tired of monkeying around with Survey Monkey and all the other polling mechanisms allegedly designed to capture my feelings regarding customer service.

Have you ever noticed the one question that NEVER gets asked regarding customer service is whether you feel their company’s customer service surveying is excessive? They also rarely have open-ended questions where you can address the issues of YOUR concern, not THEIR concerns. Often, surveys only inquire about areas where the company is doing well and amount to “Please tell us how to make our well even weller.” I’d rather talk about how to make their bad gooder.

Anyone who has been forced to survey their own customer base knows many of the surveys designed to be forced down the throats of others are perfunctory, or simply going through the motions. Either someone on the board of directors asked if customer service is being addressed or a funding source told the organization it needs to be measuring service satisfaction levels. This pressures the marketing department to quickly create an instrument to allegedly prove due diligence in that area. No wonder we’re being due-diligenced to death.

I’d like to think I would feel better about being sentenced to surveys if I believed my opinion was truly desired or at the very least, my thoughts are being survey-gathered for a legitimate if not life-changing purpose. But wasting my time and thoughts just so someone anonymous someone can check “survey our customers” off his/her to-do list pisses me off.

Do the folks at Taco Bell who have “Tell Us About Your Visit!” printed on the back of all their receipts really want to know my thoughts? We’re invited to www.TellTheBell.com to weigh in with our opinions. More amusing is that their system issues the survey invitation to absolutely all their customers, including me, who only orders the $2.29 meal deals. Isn’t it obvious that I’ve already voted with my feet by not walking into their establishment, instead using the drive-thru and ordering their cheapest stuff. I’m there for convenience and value. Period.

The service person who came to replace my old satellite dish handed me a customer survey and announced not to put anything less than the highest score on it or he would be in “big trouble” because his company takes these things “really seriously.” Really? When I recently got a new cell phone plan, the Sprint employee who helped me also said that any marks she received less than excellent represented failure. No pressure there to answer honestly. I’d surely hate to be graded on that non-curve.

I suspect personnel management is the real reason behind many surveys. The data being collected regarding customer service is not to actually help the company improve things, but to justify the promotion and employment of certain employees. Makes me feel even more pawnlike.

It’s got my cynical mind wondering if some companies use surveys to discourage use of their services. When my son accidentally locked both sets of keys in our new vehicle the first week we owned it, I had to call Onstar to ask to get it open. The next time I opened my email, there was an Onstar survey waiting for me, asking about my service experience during the lock-out. Indirect message: don’t use our services if you don’t want further contact. I won’t. I don’t. Objective achieved.

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