Friday, December 21, 2012

E) Kiss My Ass

I used to like being surveyed. I figured almost anyone could benefit from my advice. Now I'm older and I figure other people care about my thoughts and opinions about as much as I do theirs (i.e. none).

One of the big business fads going around now is the idea of surveying customers to get actual feedback on satisfaction. Business fads are like almost any idea-set that crosses into the mainstream; a few facts are correct but the concepts behind them are usually lost. So many firms will poll their customers to gather data which will be

a) presented in such a way to produce a predetermined outcome
b) misinterpreted to produce a predetermined outcome
c) ignored
d) any of the above, depending on which level of management prepares the report

Lately I've been seeing these surveys pop up more and more on websites I visit. It started out at check-out with an invitation to take a follow-up survey. Now I see them showing up as soon as I hit the web page before I've done anything.

It wouldn't be so bad if they were unobtrusive, but many are now using the same annoying tactics as the advertising I hate the most: pop-ups, pop-unders, or the worst: the animated thing that rolls across the middle of what I'm trying to read.

Worst of all: some aren't even satisfaction surveys. I clicked on one I believe to be a thinly-disguised advertisement from my current favorite company, Microsoft.

For awhile I just ignored them, but now I'm actively embracing them. I'll click on any survey offered figuring it's my turn to pee in their Wheaties for a change. And I invite everyone else to do the same.

When I am offered an annoying survey to take, I now:

A) choose answers at random, as long as they aren't accurate

B) coordinate a set of answers that are consistant but completely inaccurate (for the Microsoft survey--yes, I'm the CIO of a firm that's excited about their latest product!!!)

C) choose a set of answers to explain how deeply dissatisfied I am with the product or service

One way to approach this, if it's an in-depth survey, is to create a persona for yourself and look at it as an acting job. Back when some on-line sites used to demand demographic information before they'd let you in, I was an elderly woman from Andorra (that's a tiny country between France and Spain). An alternative is simply to be your favorite celebrity. I use one for sites that want to know my birthday, location, and so forth.

What do you think of this plan?

A) don't care
B) disinterested
C) apathetic

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