Monday, September 21 2015 09:20

No, I Do Not Wish to Take Your Survey... Even for a Chance to Win $500 (or anything)

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An Urgent Message from Rock Father HQ: Attention Large Corporations - I Do Not Wish to Take Your Surveys.

There's a real problem with "customer service" these days, and it has nothing to do with the actual service, nor the persons providing said service to the public. The problem comes after the customer has already paid for said service or goods, the moment an obligation is placed in front of the customer with enticement in the form of a potential prize, or... a guilt trip. "At the bottom of your receipt you'll find website to take our survey to tell us how we did for a chance to win..." says the usually underpaid, overworked individual tasked with circling said url to make sure that the customer takes full note and hopefully logs a few clicks to their company website. Thing is, I don't want to take your survey, and frankly, I'm tired of being asked. If your true goal is to provide "World Class" customer service, you can start with incentivizing your employees, associates, team members, grunts, stormtroopers or otherwise frontline workers in some way other than placing a task request upon the very people who pay for the existence of your entire operation. Even worse? A follow-up about said survey.

At this point we've all seen it and heard it, usually mere seconds before crumpling a receipt and tossing it in the trash, effectively rendering the words of the service-giver completely void. In most cases, if service is exceptionally great - or exceptionally poor, I assure you that I will let you know - and I don't need a mythical "prize" to do so. Like most customers, I simply want to get what I paid for, and get out.

  • If I just dropped $200 in your big box store, my obligation to you has been fulfilled. 
  • If I just went through the drive-thru of your restaurant, I'm likely looking to get your possibly delicious, though remarkably unhealthy food into my vehicle as quickly as possible. The survey pitch slows down that process.
  • If I just spent a ridiculously long amount of time (most of it on-hold) to discuss an issue with my phone, cable or internet service with a representative, I do not wish to be asked "to take a brief survey at the end of this call" - especially since the call was already being "monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes."
  • If I paid to have a children's party in your establishment, I do not need a survey sent to my home two weeks later.
  • If I am on your website, I do not need a pop-up box asking me to take a short survey about your website.
  • If I just bought a car from you, and/or had service performed in your dealership, I do not wish to be hounded and badgered into taking a survey by the employees at the dealership, from the one who calls me a week later, or by any mailers sent to my home.

About that last one, allow me to elaborate.

As much as I love Chevrolet and General Motors vehicles (some of which I even write about and review here on the site on occasion), there's a real lesson to be learned here on the customer service note: Stop badgering the customer.

A few years back, my wife and I bought 2012 Chevy Equinox. We love that vehicle - and that's why we bought it. In fact, the Equinox is consistently one of Chevy's best-selling vehicles, but we've actually had some issues with ours, though they've for the most part been covered under the Powertrain Warranty. Over the past year, the fuel pump on our Equinox has failed... three times. That's three times that the Equinox has been out of commission in less than 12 months, and the fuel pump has been replaced (among other parts) each time. The folks at the dealership have been wonderful (despite the problem happening more than once), but these visits don't come "free." While the main reason for the visit has been covered, by the time we get the oil changed, do some normal maintenance issues like air filters, transmission service, tire rotation, etc. - we still end up dropping about $500 each time. We've paid for the service, so our obligation is complete... but we're still informed that soon a survey will arrive, and we're strongly urged "to choose completely satisfied."

Thing is, we actually ran into this with the same dealership after we bought the car, and while they were terrible at the time, they're under new ownership (and name) now, and the improvements have been huge. The service is good, but the service hounding continues, because it's part of the culture at Chevy - just like it is at nearly every place we could possibly spend money - from the grocery store to the big box, the burger joint to the cable company.

A few days ago, I received a "follow-up call" from a rep at the dealership checking in on the repairs that they'd made. It was a nice gesture, and one that I'd accept - if the endgame wasn't to remind me of the looming survey. Guess what just showed up here at Rock Father HQ in two-page, double-sided form?


That message is for ALL companies that are pushing surveys upon their customers. Stop it. And stop incentivizing or penalizing your poor employees because of them. They deserve better, and your customers do, too.

P.S. - On the car dealership note, Consumerist has no less than four articles about the practice, the most recent of which was published last month. Definitely worth a read.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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