I used to feel flattered when someone asked for my opinion about something. It suggested that because of my perspicacity, there was some importance attached to my view. But all that has changed.
Lately, even the most insignificant interaction with a company results in a request for my opinion about its performance in assisting me.
Sometimes the request comes before I speak to a representative. “At the conclusion of this call, you will be asked to take a short survey about your satisfaction. The representative will not know whether or not you have agreed to participate in this survey.”
Hmm. Why is it important whether or not the representative does or doesn’t know? Will he or she be more or less responsive to my issues if I opt not to bare my soul? “This joker won’t take the survey, so I’m going to go out of my way to screw him.”
Worse still is the personal request from the representative. “At the conclusion of this call, I can transfer you into our system for a short survey about my performance. Would that be okay?”
How are you supposed to answer that? “No, I don’t give a good goddam about your performance assessment, I just want to know when my iPad case is getting here.” How about never?
There is, for me, an implicit intimidation going on here. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Elaine tries to see what her doctor has written in her file about her attitude. Will the next customer service representative I reach check the records and conclude, “Okay, this one’s an asshole. He stays on hold for ten more minutes”?
I recently became a Dish Network customer. Not surprisingly, I had a few questions at first, and made a few calls to them. Each call generated a promise (or threat) that I would receive a call from them to take “a short” survey. I then received a personal call from Arizona – a real, live person – to tell me (again) that I would be getting the automated call. The automated call would come, but I soon learned the number and sent the calls into voicemail.
It’s just as bad online. I have lost track of how many times I have had the honor of being “selected” to take a short online survey after making a purchase. Usually, these surveys are anything but short. They feature a progress bar to show you how far into the survey you are. After six pages of “With 10 being highly satisfied and 1 being highly dissatisfied…” the bar has only moved to 25%. I become highly dissatisfied. That’s when I abandon the whole thing. (“Customer has short attention span and is generally uncooperative.”)
What do they do with this information?
Somebody’s bonus – and it ain’t the person you’re dealing with – hangs on the constant upward movement of these asinine surveys. If the surveys show that customer satisfaction is up, up, up, it’s time to par-tay! If not, get ready to move back to the call center.
Conceptually, I don’t object to the notion of taking the pulse of one’s customers to see if there is room for improvement. But most customer service experiences suck. Always have, always will. Why not put the pretense aside and stop bothering us with dumbass customer satisfaction surveys?
Because I’m dissatisfied. And I plan to stay that way.
Now, get the hell off my lawn!
Categories: Random PR Thoughts