What I Think

We want to know what you think,

Thank you for shopping with (Major Chain Drugstore) Photo! You have been selected to take part in a customer satisfaction survey. Please take a few minutes to share your opinions about your recent photo order experience with us.

Sure, ok. I sent five photos to you on-line to be printed. The prints were not the quality of my professional lab, but they were decent, not to mention considerably cheaper, and I was able to pick them up in an hour. You delivered as advertised, no more, no less, and I walked away a satisfied customer.

You were actually my second choice. I needed photos printed to be used for a school project on Sunday night. When I sent the same order to (Major Discount Department Store), and went to pick them up, they weren’t ready because of some software problem that frankly, I didn’t give two cents about, I just cared that it wouldn’t be resolved until Monday, and cancelled the order. I haven’t received their consumer satisfaction survey yet.

Yeah, I’m not really taking five minutes out of my day to fill out a customer satisfaction survey about five stupid photos. Is it just me or is everyone just a little too desperate for validation? Go on-line and complete our survey to be eligible for a $5,000 gift card! Go on-line and complete our survey for six complimentary wings! Go on-line and complete our survey for 10% off your next purchase! Go on-line and complete our survey and be entered to win a grand-prize drawing of $10,000! Go on-line and complete our survey for ten free prints! Go on-line and complete our survey and you could win free web-hosting for a year! Tell us how we did! How was my service today? Were you completely satisfied? How was your recruiting experience? What could we do better? Give us your opinion.

Here’s my feedback. Leave me the hell alone.

Trust me, if I’m dissatisfied, you’ll be the first to know. And if you fucked up to the point where I go all passive-aggressive and just never patronize your business again, I guess you’ll never know, but that’s your problem. (I’m talking to you, Eden Prairie Texaco station with the psycho cashier who literally threw a pen at me one morning like 15 years ago. I’ve never set foot in your place since.) Just do your damn job. You’d have a hell of a lot more time to DO your job as a business if you’d quit forcing your employees to force these stupid surveys, credit card applications and other bullshit on your customers.

I highly doubt the results you get from these surveys are statistically worth a damn anyway. Who takes them? Broke students who will do anything for a free meal? Housewives who have way too much time on their hands? People who are bored at work and need to kill time before 5:00? If the demographic you’re going for is people who have time to sit down and put serious thought into a survey, you’re not properly capturing your customer base. In fact, I know of someone who works for an upscale department store who gives the survey codes that customers don’t use so friends and family can go on-line and complete the survey so she can attain her quota every month.

Technology has caused corporations to focus less and less on what is important, and more and more on what is measurable, regardless of whether or not the number generated has any real meaning or not. It’s the reason that by the time I left my last “real” job as a corporate manager, I loathed surveys, statistics, metrics and spreadsheets with every fiber of my being. Employees are not machines. Neither are customers. Everything they do cannot be condensed into a number. You can’t quantify quality. You can’t quantify service. You can’t quantify creativity.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012

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6 thoughts on “What I Think

  1. Ah, but when you call in and give feedback they link the purchases listed on your receipt to your guest I’d number and find out slightly more about your buying habits. Target, who has become the best at this, can tell when a women is pregnant before she’s given any outward indicators and even predict due dates within weeks. People are far more susceptible to changing their buying habits during life transitions and stores use this kind of info to reel you in. They have a lot of covert ways, but also use registries, asking for your zip code when you check out and surveys to get you to voluntarily hand over the info. Interesting stuff, but then again, I’m a stats and sociology geek. Lol.

    • All the more reason for me NOT to participate in their stupid survey. It’s bad enough there are data warehouses that collect all of your purchasing info and then sell it to marketers and companies that collect it to make determinations about your credit worthiness and health status, I don’t need to feed them more information.

      • Oh, I completely agree. When I’m feeling especially pissy I refuse to give phone numbers and zip codes too. Do you remember when you had to give your social security number to write a check. What a nightmare that would have been if they had the capabilities then that they do now. I want to say my college ID was my SSN… Definitely the first year, but maybe the whole time I was there?!

  2. I love to take the little “store cards” to get the discounts. Bu I never fill it in with my real info. It’s nobodies business what I buy when!

  3. well, where have you been? building up steam? i missed your posts. anyhoo. i agree with you whole-heartedly. i work for a major airline and we are measured and metricked and quantified up the wazoo and it makes me crazy. thankfully i am only a few years from retirement, i think i can stand it for a while longer.

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