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Survey fatigue
Old 03-19-2012, 01:43 PM   #1
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Survey fatigue

I saw on the Houston Chronicle site a reference to this article.... It is about how everybody seems to be doing surveys of their customers...

Like some mentioned in the article, I am tired of all the surveys that keep coming my way... and especially the ones how want to be top rated even when they did nothing to be top rated...


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/bu...ustomer&st=cse
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:02 PM   #2
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I usually opt out of doing surveys. I definitely have the fatigue!
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Perhaps we should have a survey here to ask forum members if they are tired of surveys?
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #4
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I get surveys at w*rk every time I call the IT desk and they fix an issue. A bit overkill if you ask me to do it every time.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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A big part of my j*b is managing Megacorp's customer satisfaction survey (and accompanying TPS Reports) for various groups throughout the company. I can tell you there is a *huge* push to get more surveys, to increase the response rate, to increase the percentage of customer incidents which receive survey invitations, to increase sample sizes. Sometimes I feel like we're deviating from industry best practices to do whatever we can -- as many of the changes I'm asked to make are with the expressed intention to get more surveys back.

A growing percentage of bonuses across the company are specifically tied to these results.

I get asked by support management, R&D management and account managers all the time for a list of open and still valid survey invtations sent to a customer which have not been completed and returned -- the idea being that they want to contact the customer to urge them to complete it.

Frankly, I'd feel harassed by this, but I do as I'm told...
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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If I receive a survey as a result of being helped by an individual, and giving them the great marks they deserve may help them, then I'll do it. I find them a bit annoying, but that's not the fault of the customer care person who is just doing their best to do well and make some money.

If it's not going to help an individual and is just generally related to the company giving the survey I usually pass.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
A big part of my j*b is managing Megacorp's customer satisfaction survey (and accompanying TPS Reports) for various groups throughout the company. I can tell you there is a *huge* push to get more surveys, to increase the response rate, to increase the percentage of customer incidents which receive survey invitations, to increase sample sizes. Sometimes I feel like we're deviating from industry best practices to do whatever we can -- as many of the changes I'm asked to make are with the expressed intention to get more surveys back.
That sounds more like customer "surveyce" than "service"...
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
If I receive a survey as a result of being helped by an individual, and giving them the great marks they deserve may help them, then I'll do it. I find them a bit annoying, but that's not the fault of the customer care person who is just doing their best to do well and make some money.

If it's not going to help an individual and is just generally related to the company giving the survey I usually pass.
This is generally what I do.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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When will we get to grade the people doing the survey? Usually the work or product is just fine and then you sometimes wind up with an aggressive person wanting to do a survey.

When the customer service person is very helpful and asks me to give then a good rating then I usually do the survey.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:09 AM   #10
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When the customer service person is very helpful and asks me to give then a good rating then I usually do the survey.
Generally here too.

Business is so competitive now that I can't blame companies for asking "How are we doing?" If there's a small problem they need to know about it before it becomes a big problem. For a lot of them margins are pretty thin.

But I also look at what they're asking. If they're asking for the demographic stuff I ignore it. That's just to target marketing. If they're asking about a specific transaction, the survey is short and pointed, and I have the time, then I'll do it.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:49 AM   #11
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A big part of my j*b is managing Megacorp's customer satisfaction survey (and accompanying TPS Reports) for various groups throughout the company. I can tell you there is a *huge* push to get more surveys, to increase the response rate, to increase the percentage of customer incidents which receive survey invitations, to increase sample sizes. Sometimes I feel like we're deviating from industry best practices to do whatever we can -- as many of the changes I'm asked to make are with the expressed intention to get more surveys back.

A growing percentage of bonuses across the company are specifically tied to these results.
We're starting to see this, too. A big driver here is not any company desire to do anything any better. Rather it is driven by a new management fad with SMART goals. The notion is that if you can describe in a Specifc Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-based goal what everyone's job is, then you can simply measure did they do that to know if they did a good job or not. But to work the system, the goals have to be numeric and measurable. Goals like write good software for System X, get turned into deliver System X by April 1. Customer satisfaction with System X must improve by 25% by Nov 1. Teams are punished for not meeting the April 1 deadline if they need an extra week to make everything perfect, but are rewarded if they ship anything on time, no matter how many months of additional work is needed to actually make it work as intended. The Customer satisfaction number is a specific number, but it is only very vaguely linked to what work the software people really did, so mostly out of their control.

These would make a good study for demotivational practices, except they are so popular right now. We've instituted new surveys for employee attitudes, customer satisfaction and internal "satisfaction" with help desk support all as part of someone's goals being tied to something that needs to be measured numerically.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:05 AM   #12
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We're starting to see this, too. A big driver here is not any company desire to do anything any better. Rather it is driven by a new management fad with SMART goals. The notion is that if you can describe in a Specifc Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-based goal what everyone's job is, then you can simply measure did they do that to know if they did a good job or not. But to work the system, the goals have to be numeric and measurable.
Same here -- translation being "we have to find a way to make every business process, every qualititative aspect regarding service, product quality and such, into a metric." That's true even if the metric seems far-fetched and of dubious value. Doesn't matter -- they want us to derive a metric for it and create a series of TPS reports that get sent to their e-mail every week that cuts the data along every imaginable axis.

I see the value in so-called SMART objectives (bingo!) and of metrics, but they need to be based on metrics that make sense, not "let's define XYZ aspect of product quality by the position of Venus as it passes through Taurus".

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Teams are punished for not meeting the April 1 deadline if they need an extra week to make everything perfect, but are rewarded if they ship anything on time, no matter how many months of additional work is needed to actually make it work as intended. The Customer satisfaction number is a specific number, but it is only very vaguely linked to what work the software people really did, so mostly out of their control
In our system, there's less emphasis on "on time or else" and more emphasis on reducing the number of reported software defects, so I think that one's a positive. I think the development executives may get hit for not releasing on time (especially if it slips through a fiscal quarter), but beyond that there's more emphasis on avoiding defects and reducing the number of support calls.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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We're starting to see this, too. A big driver here is not any company desire to do anything any better. Rather it is driven by a new management fad with SMART goals. The notion is that if you can describe in a Specifc Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-based goal what everyone's job is, then you can simply measure did they do that to know if they did a good job or not. But to work the system, the goals have to be numeric and measurable. Goals like write good software for System X, get turned into deliver System X by April 1. Customer satisfaction with System X must improve by 25% by Nov 1. Teams are punished for not meeting the April 1 deadline if they need an extra week to make everything perfect, but are rewarded if they ship anything on time, no matter how many months of additional work is needed to actually make it work as intended. The Customer satisfaction number is a specific number, but it is only very vaguely linked to what work the software people really did, so mostly out of their control.

These would make a good study for demotivational practices, except they are so popular right now. We've instituted new surveys for employee attitudes, customer satisfaction and internal "satisfaction" with help desk support all as part of someone's goals being tied to something that needs to be measured numerically.

Not only that, but making it where the customer is supposed to put down all 5s (or the highest number) or the person gets a bad score....

I remember one guy who asked "Did I exceed your expectations today?".... well, NO... I expected you to complete the sale... what else can you do to exceed my expectations

And I am tired of getting so many.... even on this site we get pop ups asking to complete a survey.... plus, if you do not want my REAL feedback, then put some questions down that actually would make sense...
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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I get frequent surveys from academics doing research. They want the input of hundreds of doctors on some obscure question or other. I used to make an effort to contribute, but these days I look critically and if it isn't something I'm interested in, I'll pass. This is unpaid activity that does not help me RE.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:43 AM   #15
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reducing the number of reported software defects, so I think that one's a positive.
You would think so, but often there are unintended side effects. Doing extra testing to be sure of software quality often turns up additional defects to report. Even if these same defects would have been present without testing, the teams that report extra defects (that they fixed!) can find themselves rated lower than teams that did minimal testing and shipped defects that were not "known"

When everything is made just about the numbers, people will work to make the numbers better. This can easily lead to unwanted results, just because of the numbers that were chosen to measure.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:45 AM   #16
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When everything is made just about the numbers, people will work to make the numbers better. This can easily lead to unwanted results, just because of the numbers that were chosen to measure.
Next thing you know, you're going to start telling me that excessive obsession with a number is causing teachers to "teach to the test"...
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:51 AM   #17
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Surveys are just instances of employers outsourcing employee evaluations to their customers.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #18
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Surveys are just instances of employers outsourcing employee evaluations to their customers.
I'm increasingly cynical about Corporate America but even I'm not quite *that* cynical.

I don't think it's "offloading" employee evaluations per se, since their managers still have to do it. To some degree it may be "passing the buck", though -- the managers (and HR) can say "nothing we can do about it, part of your evaluation is customer feedback and your manager can't change that." There could also be a component of "legal CYA" baked into that.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:59 PM   #19
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I have been getting telephone surveys or pseudo-surveys lately on a daily basis. I hang up on them. Quite a few are not genuine, objective, scientifically designed surveys and therefore I don't feel one bit guilty about hanging up. Often they seem to be pushing a candidate or product.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #20
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When the customer service person is very helpful and asks me to give then a good rating then I usually do the survey.
Same here. I feel it is just as important to make sure good service is made known to the management, whether it is from a survey or from simply logging into the company's website and completing a comment form. First, management needs to be able to reward these people so they don't quit and get replaced by inferior people. Next, management needs to be able to tell their other staff what their top performers did RIGHT so the rest of the staff can get better.

I recall from early in my working days what someone once said when they were told they provided good service: "Don't tell me, tell my boss!" I once said this after a run of unusually good deeds at my old office and at the end of the year got a $750 special award bonus.
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