Sunday, May 19, 2024

C. Stroup: A penny for your thoughts

C. Stroup
C. Stroup

Would you be willing to take a brief survey? Please don’t stop reading…I really don’t mean for you to take a survey…I just want to ask you how often you are plagued with the prospect of taking one! All I know is that I can hardly call anywhere for information or visit any place of business without receiving an unwanted request to complete a survey. (Or should I have said a request to complete an unwanted survey?!!! Or both?) If you make an inquiry by phone the recording (of course you get a recording) will ask if you are willing to stay on the line after the call to answer a few ‘brief questions.’ I always wonder if I “press 2 for NO” if my customer service satisfaction will be less than stellar. And BTW, since it’s almost become the norm for all calls to be recorded, why do they need to know my point of view? Can’t they simply listen to the recorded conversation to learn if the rep has skills that need to improve?

When these surveys first started becoming a nuisance I learned the hard way that “this will only take a few minutes of your time” does not apply to most of the evaluations. And they are always intended to help improve whatever they’re in reference to. In my opinion, not ever being asked to comment would be a big improvement. That would take up none of my time.

Of course, solicitors have all kinds of ways of trying to contact their victims. Let’s say an email doesn’t get a response and a text message is ignored. Having refused the phone invitation to “take a brief survey” they often rely on good old fashioned snail mail. So an impressive envelope arrives in your mailbox and it’s marked “Important. Open at Once.” Now ya know you’re gonna open it, even though ya know it’s probably junk. And surnuf ~ there it is! “In order to provide you with the highest possible quality of service we have enclosed a ‘brief’ questionnaire. We ask that you complete it and for your convenience return it to us in the enclosed postage paid envelope.” (Huh?) As I toss the crumpled papers into our recycle bin I wonder if the money invested in them couldn’t have been put to better use…perhaps additional training for the people whose fate it is to be surveyed would make more sense?!!!

I can recall, back in the day, a few surveys that I actually enjoyed, found fulfilling, entertaining and worth my while. These weren’t just any surveys…they were food and beverage tasting surveys. Companies wanting to introduce new products into the marketplace would pay bored housewives a paltry fee to rate their creations. What could be better than spending time with friends, while taking advantage of free babysitting and earning some pocket change? And all the while you were served tasty tidbits and luscious libations to quench your thirst. But I digress as that was a lifetime ago.

 Some reviews have formats that are more annoying than others. One of my personal favorites is the one that features multiple picks: How would you rate your overall satisfaction on today’s visit? Poor _ Satisfactory _ Good _ or Excellent _? Would you be willing to recommend us and if so, why? If not, why? (Remember these are ‘brief surveys’). Another one I’m keen on is the one that rates on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being the best. So does that mean a 1, 2, 3 or 4 are in the crappy category and a 5, 6 or 7 denotes good then an 8, 9 or 10 must be terrific?! That always confuses me. You can see by my ignorance of some of the content of these assessments one reason filling them out is an aggravation without a doubt.

I hate to be so jaded when my help is being sought but filling out a survey takes time I haven’t got!

C. Stroup
C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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