I bought a new car. On delivery day it was in the showroom draped in a royal blue cloth with a sign saying Reserved for Mr Onassis. The salesman before handing me the keys mumbled in an apologetic fashion “The Sales Manager likes to talk to every customer when they take delivery…”
The Sales Manager didn’t waste much time. He said that I’d shortly be receiving a call from a company who surveys new car buyers to find out what they thought of the dealership. Then he slipped in the hard sell. “They’ll ask you to mark us on a scale of 1 to 10. Only 9 and 10 are positive; anything below that is negative.”
The survey duly arrived. I declined to answer even though I was very happy with the car and the dealership.
Days later my bank called me. I was probably going to be asked to rate my bank. From a list of phrases from very displeased to very pleased I had to choose the phrase that best described my experience. “Please be sure to say you’re very pleased with our service. Anything else is considered negative”. Again I declined to do the survey even though my bank is pretty awful.
Last week a hotel that Act Now Training uses did the same thing. Please let us know what you think of our hotel. This time the hotel manager foolishly put his suggestion “Actually it’s a yes/no question; anything under 8 is negative. We need 9s and 10s” in an email. Now we have the evidence that the practice exists. Previously the conspiracy had only survived by word of mouth.
I haven’t answered yet.
What value does a survey have when the surveyees are primed to deliver the response the company wants? Is every survey result is the product of a self selecting group – the group of people who like to give high scores in surveys? Or is there another group like me who never participate in the survey who feel there’s no value in a survey where the traditional Likert scale has been morphed into a 50/50 shot? Most brits are stiff upper lip types who won’t take a survey if their views would have been critical in case someone contacted them afterwards.
Is the information age producing better information or is the value or a survey subjective, objective or merely the result of a carefully orchestrated customer manipulation.
This article already had 12,500 likes before I posted it. Find them on Ebay.
Paul Simpkins is a Director and Trainer at Act Now Training Ltd. He will be delivering the internationally recognized BCS certificate in Data Protection in June. If you are interested in this or any other Act Now training courses on Information governance, please visit our website www.actnow.org.uk