Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#5.5 "SURVEYS," A Guest Whine

Editorial note: 

Although my blog, "The  Bottom Whine," has been up and running for only five months, I have had a number of requests from readers to guest whine. The blog below -- "Surveys" -- written by Jacqueline Gum. is the first.  

My next blog -- "Drivers and Pedestrians" -- will appear September 1.  


     When I first started receiving surveys, I was flattered that anyone so deeply cared about my opinion. I knew it was all marketing, but still believed that these companies were interested in improving their services, or at the very least their customer service. Because I have a background in sales and marketing, I bought in because it made sense …take it to the people. Let’s improve by giving them what they want.

When I received my first survey, it was a one page, ten question document that arrived via snail mail. There was a dollar bill taped to a very gracious thank you note, along with a stamped return envelope. I gave consideration to my answers and was careful to write in legible handwriting.

Fast forward several years. Today I can’t purchase any item online without Survey Monkey popping up on my screen. And I have every pop-up blocker available. These surveys are redundant…same questions. I answered the first dozen. Now I find myself screaming at my computer screen, “You asked me these questions last week, dammit…I already told you! Hello? Anybody reading these?”

The very worst offender is my cable provider who, I’m convinced, has a whole department dedicated to pissing off the customer by inundating them with email surveys, phone surveys, and old fashioned snail mail surveys, sans the dollar bill and stamped return envelope. Fact is, they repeatedly overbill me, and can’t provide the services they promised me, and when I do need a technician, seems he can’t fix what’s broken and they have to send another tech and this sets up another argument with billing. Yet the recording asks, “How would you rate your service today on a scale of 1-10 “Minus ten” I answer. “I’m sorry, we didn’t understand. Please use the numbers on your keypad.”

No matter how poorly I rate them, nothing changes. I can’t switch providers because there are none available to me. After complaining about a particularly inept technician, they sent the same tech to fix the problem he couldn’t fix in the first place. But my phone rang just after he left, “Hello,” the recording said sweetly. “We’re conducting a survey regarding your latest service call.”

THE BOTTOM WHINE: I don’t fill out or answer surveys anymore. It’s another good idea gone amuck by overuse. Hey, listen up corporate America! If your sales are declining, instead of scratching your head, READ the surveys. But I suspect, after all these many years of soliciting my opinion, that you don’t give a damn what I think; you just want me to think you do. Whine, whine, whine J

(Thanks for the opportunity Carol, to be a part of your wonderful, whiny blog! I’m both flattered and humbled.)

Jacqueline Gum is the author of Confessions of a Corporate Slut and is now shopping her second novel, The Accuser’s Burden. Her witty and insightful blog, Where’s the Justice, focuses on social injustice. Visit her website at www.jacquelinegum.com


  1. Loved this blog by Jacqueline Gum. She hit the nail on the head and I am right there with her screaming at the computer.
    I highly recommend picking up her book, Confessions of a Corporate Slut. Great read.

  2. Great guest blog! I hate telephone "surveys" that are really sales calls. Last night I got a weird one. I answered the phone, heard a few clicks, and then a voice said, "Hello. Is the woman of the house in?" My one-word answer, "Yes." Long pause. Then the caller hung up. Did she expect me to say, "That's me! I'm so glad you called!" ?? NOT.

  3. I hate these, too. I once read a book, which although it was a mystery novel, had an insightful comment about how only in America will you find comment cards, surveys, etc. In other countries, businesses just expect their employees to do their best, and if there is a problem, they'll hear about it. In the US we need to be reassured that we are doing a good job. I wonder, is this because we can no longer expect the best out of our employees?