I have given up completing unsolicited surveys for services I receive. There are just too many of them. All of them want 5 minutes of my time, and if I spent 5-minutes completing each survey I received I’d have to give up writing, or family time, or something–there just isn’t enough time in the day.
On our recent vacation, I received a surevy after checking out of each hotel we stayed in. When we went out to dinner one night, I received a survey asking about our service. On a few occasions when I bought a quick lunch, the receipt came with a QR code that I could use to tell them about their service. The food was relatively hot and it didn’t make me sick: what’s there to tell?
I took the car in for service and received a survey for that. I was prompted by the service manager to give them a “10”. They’ve always provided me with “10”-quality service, but no, I’m not going to fill out a survey. While on vacation, I ended up with an ear infection. I did a video visit with a doctor, who prescribed some antibiotics. I got a survey from the doctor, and a survey from the pharmacy, each wanting 5 minutes of my time. The video appointment only took five minutes and I think I was in and out of the pharamcy in under 2 minutes.
I did something to my right knee while on vacation. It bothered me enough that I saw my doctor upon returning home. But you know where this is going: I got a survey from my doctor. That was a particularly persistent survey. When I ignored it the first time, I got a second email reminding me to complete the survey.
It wasn’t always like this. I can remember a time when I was never bothered to complete a survey. Companies find the data useful in some way, and I applaud them for trying to improve. But I’m skeptical of how much improvement really takes place. It is hard to know. If I receive bad service, and fill out a survey saying so, I’m still not likely to go back to the same place and so I’ll never know if my feedback helped them improve. Then, too, what I am saying in a survey may be different than what others are saying.
It must be difficult to generate a response rate that is statistically signicant. Infer this from the number of surveys I receive that have incentives. These incentives are never what they seem, and rarely worth the time to complete the survey. Usually there is a chance to win a prize. I don’t want to waste my time on that kind of chance.
For hotel surveys, they often ask if you want someone from the hotel to contact you about your stay. On the rare occasion when there has been a problem and I completed the survey, describing what happened, and saying that, yes, I would like a manager to contact me, no one ever does.
The worst surveys are those that you fill out, and then suddenly find yourself on a screen where you can “share your results” on social media. In this case they are clearly not attemping to analyze feedback and improve, but simply providing a sneaky way to get recommendations on a website. I’ve often wondered if these types of surveys ask to post results when the results are not so hot.
When I receive good service, I speak up. I’ll send an email. I’ll catch the manager of a restaurant and tell them about my wonderful experience (I’ll leave a good tip, too!). I much prefer to engage directly with the person or persons who made the experience a positive one. I suspect they never hear about it one way or the other on a survey.
So, if you have sent me a survey, and are waiting on a response, you can stop waiting. You’re not getting one. I am officially retired from my role as a survey respondent.
Written on January 21, 2022.
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