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Improving Productivity OR “Thanks And Would You Like A Survey With That?”

Perhaps I’ve just become a grumpy old man but I’m starting to become really annoyed by follow-up surveys every time I do something. Maybe with the removal of Morrison and Frydenberg, I have less to be annoyed about so I’m finding surveys more irritating or maybe it’s just the fact that – rather than a simple tick, awesome service, five stars – so many of them ask me if could spare five minutes of my time…

Five minutes of my time, eh? Look, even if I were on the minimum wage that’s about $2 worth. I don’t want to spend five whole minutes talking about a transaction that didn’t last that long as the experience they’re asking about. While that may be reminiscent of my early sexual experiences, but it gives me no sense of nostalgia.

Of course, the probability that nobody actually reads the surveys and that it’s simple a way of crunching numbers to beat the employees over the head with, doesn’t improve my mood. Is the girl who was so helpful going to lose her job because I only gave her a nine for knowledge of the product? Or is the fact that I didn’t do the survey going to result in the guy who carried the heavy box all the way to car going to lead his pay being docked?

I think that I particularly resent the box that some surveys have where you’re asked the reason you gave that score. It may be because I’m a teacher and that means I AM obliged to have reasons for why I gave Justin an “Excellent” but only gave Eugene “Barely Acceptable”. It’s simple, Eugene, Justin got an Excellent because he wrote in complete sentences on the topic and he managed more than two hundred words and didn’t feel the need to draw a penis on his essay!

So when I’ve given a score on a survey without too much thought, I don’t like the idea that I have to find some reason and because I resent having to think of one after explaining to Eugene that just writing words, even complicated words like ‘juxtapose”, isn’t enough if they aren’t on the topic, so I’ve resorted to writing things such as:

  • “I gave this score because the person who served me reminded me of a nurse who once saved my life.”
  • “This score was the result of balancing the time I spent waiting against the fact that this store is clearly understaffed as a result of the greedy capitalists who are going to be the first lined up and shot when the revolution comes. I tried to interest the girl in attending a meeting of the revolutionaries but she’d been brainwashed by her parents.”
  • “I have no idea why I gave this score but I couldn’t move on to the next page until I did and I find that I have a compulsive need to finish things otherwise I would have stopped doing this ridiculous survey ages ago.”
  • “I gave this score because the shop assistant has my address and he looked like he was a vindictive sort of person, so I didn’t want to cross him by not giving him a ten.”
  • “Do you get paid to create these surveys and, if so, are you paid by the number of questions you create? That would seem to be the only explanation for the pointlessness of this whole exercise.”
  • “Help I’m being held captive by a group that forces people to do surveys in order to inflate the numbers. Please call A Current Affair and get them to investigate. I think Harvey Norman is behind it. They’re coming. I may not finish this survey but if I don’t it’s bec…”
  • “I’m appalled and unless someone contacts me, I’ll never buy your products again!”

Yes, it’s true I could just not do the survey, but then some places just keep sending you reminders saying that you’ve forgotten to do the survey and there doesn’t seem a way I can reply and say that the tennis balls I bought were just fine and that I didn’t have any problem and it doesn’t seem worth me filling out fifteen pages of my experience in order for you to improve because I doubt that anybody reads things based on my lack of a response no matter what I write, do or say!

My biggest fear is that the surveys won’t be enough and some corporate genius will get the idea of doing something like this:

Thank you for completing a survey on your recent purchase at Acme INC. In order to improve your survey experience, we’d like to ask you a few simple questions.

  1. Was the survey everything you hoped it would be?
  2. Did it ask the right questions?
  3. Were the spelling, grammar and other language conventions all correct?
  4. On a scale of one to eleven how would you rate the length of the survey?
  5. In no more than nine hundred words explain the reason for that score.
  6. Have you nothing better to do with your life and is that why you shop non-stop?
  7. Did you find the font easy to read?
  8. Would you be interested in doing followup surveys?
  9. Could you give a reason for your previous answer?
  10. If you said no to the previous question, would it help if we rephrased it?
  11. May we contact you about your lack of cooperation?
  12. Do you have as much trouble justifying your existence or is it just us?

Perhaps, I should be careful. I might give them ideas.


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  1. Perry

    They’re very annoying, and I no longer bother with them.

  2. New England Cocky

    Rossleigh ….. I understand your feelings. When I was a teacher I devised a schema to minimise the time spent writing the half-yearly & yearly reports that most parents sometimes read, ignore and throw in a drawer to be forgotten forever. I think the only person who read the reports was a slack vindictive Principal wanting to satisfy the District Inspector that he (thought he) knew what was happening in his school.

    The scheme has three compartments, each with a standard set of five component responses. This gives 5 x 5 x 5 = 125 possible combinations for a class size of <30. Enough to escape any claim of repetitive nonsense.

  3. RoadKillCafe

    I tend to answer that I am a werewolf and that it is always good to make new contacts, please send your address. Silence is the firm reply.

  4. Arnd

    Eugene was defo on to something. Just answer those surveys with a few meaningless words, including some complicated ones like “juxtaposed”.

    And draw a penis!

  5. andy56

    I spent 20min on hold with Vicroads. Paid my dues but i am still having issues login in online. So she transfers me and its like 20min wait . But before transferring, she did tell me about a survey………I hung up.

    The best ones are about a service you haven’t had yet, lol. I dont give anyone points, i take them all away.

  6. wam

    When the experience was good I say so, in the survey.
    If I, or the employee, was tired/overworked/ill then I ignore the survey.
    I always ignore the requests for email.

  7. Maggie McCann

    They take the joy out of buying something. If they are really a Performance and Development tool, then the companies that send them out need to have another think about the fact that there is absolutely no way of verifying their ratings! Surely employee evaluations are the job of the highly paid supervisors to carry out! Do they charge us more if we revisit their website again after ignoring several requests for feedback? Spooky…

  8. Stephengb

    I always avoid the survey unless there is a provision for me to free hand my thoughts.

    Where upon I take some satisfaction by explaning that :-
    “I am happy to do your survey – please send me your purchase order for my $200, fee for service”. Thank you.

    Never the less I haven’t recieved a purchase order yet. But hey it’s worth the effort

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