When did being so needy become attractive?
"How did we do?"
"Your opinion is important to us."
"Your feedback is critical to our business."
"Do you like you packet of 5 screws?"
"Did the <piece of tat> meet your expectations?"
"Your review will influence other buyers." (but if we don't like it we will delete it)
It is at the point where the request for a survey from a vendor now counts as a black mark against their name.
"Stop asking me for surveys or I'll stop buying from you."
I regularly buy small and cheap parts for PCs on eBay for a dollar or two.
Before the things even arrive I am often pestered for my review or to fill out a survey.
"I haven't seen the fricken' thing yet and you want me to tell you how I feel? Am I now supposed to remember to fill out your survey when it arrives? Because you know I have plenty of time in my calendar for catching up on your survey."
The time I waste/spend on reviews is more valuable to me than doing a needy stranger a favour.
So almost no-one ever gets a review, feedback or a survey filled in by me.
The only ones I do is where there's a chance to win something significant. If it ain't got a decent prize it ain't worth my time.
When I do chase the prize often the surveys themselves are stupid and flawed i.e. they are wasting their own time too!
Sometimes the they are biased so that all you can give them is good feedback. That's helping no-one.
I have tested some of these things for fun. I've put in answers that cancel each other out, requested contact from an actual person or otherwise tried to verify if anyone is even paying attention to the results they are getting.
So far no luck. I haven't won a prize and I have got a response.
My recent dramas getting back from holidays during the COVID 19 pandemic highlighted another flawed ...very flawed...survey mechanism.
Some public toilets have a survey for visitors to do on the way out, I shit you not (excuse the pun).
Much like the graphic at the top of this post, there's a set of buttons on the wall with a smiley face, a neutral face and a frowny face.
People who have just been to the toilet, many of who are disgusting (let's just leave it at that) will put their dirty, germy, coviddy fingers on this panel...
..."and you want me to share that experience?!?!?"
I wouldn't do that even if the world was ending...wait...what?
I've worked in the IT game for a very long time now and there's one maxim that rings true in the case of these surveys; "garbage in equals garbage out".
This means that if the data you are collecting is flawed for some reason, then what you do with it will be wrong.
It is very easy to create a bad survey that includes all sorts of bias, errors and omissions.
If you are creating a survey or requesting feedback because you think it will make you feel good, because you already know you are doing a good job, then how are you going to react to the bad feedback?
Most people ignore it or get aggressive. They almost never feel that there's an actual problem to fix. "That's just their opinion. Everyone else is happy."
I am not going to tell you how to create a good survey because I really want you to just STOP!
If you do, in fact, a proper job then your customer will already be happy. Don't piss them off by being needy.
If you don't do a good job then you'll probably find that out too.
Some are vocal but some are quiet. They quietly stop buying from you. You'll see that in your overall sales figures if the majority of your customers are unhappy.
And let's face it, there are always arseholes who will be unhappy no matter what you do, so why prompt them to be more painful than they already are?
If you still feel the need to ask your customers to give you free advice, then at least reward them by showing them the results.
Only survey them for big important things and things that aren't actually self-evident or designed to stroke an ego.
Prove to them that you listened and changed the way you work...even if their feedback wasn't in the majority at least they'll know that they didn't waste their time.
Reward them ALL for helping you. I don't care how, just do it.
To close this post I'll tell you about an automatic response, that I received, that worked.
I'd been to a web site and put something in the shopping cart. I proceeded to check out only to finding shipping prohibitive.
I bailed out of the order.
A couple of days later I received an automated message from the web site asking...
When I spotted the words "reply to this email" I hoped that something different may be going on here.
I hoped I may talk to an actual person. So I did in fact reply to the email and I did raise my concern with the vendor.
The solution is almost irrelevant here. The point is that their email query was reasonable and actions genuine. I got a fast and honest response.
Did I get what I hoped for? No.
Will I go back to shop there? Definitely!
Let me know how you feel about surveys and feedback in the comments below (did you see what I did there? I amused myself, that's what 😉).
David - Head Poncho @ I Hate My PC.