Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

How Crazy is Time and Money Spent On This Survey? 3

I just have to say: wow! How much money are they spending on this survey, and how completely useless is it. A couple of pages in, it comes to a page asking me to choose three things from a list of things that this company does better than any other provider. 

I balk at that. I’m a user, and a customer, and I don’t think that company does even one of these things better than any other provider. Literally. If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t use them. But they are a compromise between competing features. So what happens: 

  1. I tell them the truth. I check none of the boxes. I write it into the “Other (please specify)” area on the form. 
  2. And the survey stops. Dead. Nope, you, user, can’t continue your survey until you tell us the three things we do better than any other provider. So I’m gone, out of the survey, writing this blog post, far more amused than annoyed. 

Seriously, though, somebody charged with marketing came up with the bright idea of a survey, spending company resources, that pushes people for empty meaningless results. Or is this a hidden weapon in marketing-management politics, maybe, that the survey pushers wanted to prove how good they are with faked results proving they’re good? 

But they don’t have my results included. At this point, like they say on the TV show, “I’m out.” 

  • http://www.lioncrestsoftwareservices.com Anthony L. Testi

    I think most surveys fall into two categories: A) Those design to gather good actionable information. (Now will good actions be taken? That is a whole other topic. ) B) Those that are designed to help create marketing products. So the survey that you took falls into the ‘B’ category. While I recognize the sarcasm in your ” …somebody charged with marketing came up with the bright idea of a survey…” statement, I think it is the truth. Someone did this on purpose so that they can ‘honestly’ say something like 95% of those people who completed the survey say we are the best provider of X services ( or some such thing.)

    Remember that there are lies, dam lies and statistics. ( or in this case survey results. )

  • http://www.orlyart.com Contemporary Art

    I would answer is some surveys are done in response to directed internal politics, Management you might bring about improvement.

  • http://www.metafacts.com Dan Ness

    Tim,
    You’re one of the most valuable outliers they could have, because you’re taking time to share more than clicks. Sadly, as someone who has conducted and critiqued surveys over the decades, I can tell you this sort of poor practice isn’t new.
    Pro survey developers pre-test their surveys to make sure respondents don’t get forced out through some poor logic. That checking often doesn’t happen due to inexperience, lack of attention, or lack of resources.
    It’s also as you suggested: some surveys are done in response to some mis-directed internal politics.
    More than once, during a big purchase, the salesperson has handed me a copy of an after-sale survey, pointed to several questions, and asked me how I would answer. If I promise to give a good rating on certain questions, they will give me a discount.
    You’re doing the right thing by going around the process. Heck, it may get back to management who might bring about a little improvement.
    I hope the next survey you take is better.
    Cheers,
    Dan