A while back, one of my service providers sent me an invitation to fill out a survey. As I’ve stated before, sometimes CX people can be the best or the worst when it comes to such things. I will usually only fill out a survey when I know that I have something positive to say about an experience. If I have an issue, I’ll usually directly contact the brand and give them some (hopefully, from my perspective at least, constructive) feedback on how they could do better. Why ding the numbers that they’re likely punishing people for if it’s not necessary? If I have a negative experience with a brand that’s no reflection on the people who are trying their best (in spite of the company’s policies, rather than being enhanced by them), I usually surmise that it’s not the agent’s fault…but also that the brand is so poorly run that I wouldn’t put it past them to take it out on the agent nonetheless.
But the other day I received, unsolicited, and unattached to any recent interaction with this company, an invitation to take a survey. To sweeten the deal, they were even offering a $25 Amazon gift card to the first couple hundred people who responded. Now, I happened to be sitting right in front of my email when it came across, so I knew that there was a distinct possibility that I, indeed, if I acted fast enough, may be among those early chosen few.
So I clicked on the link.
The first few pages were all about my ethnographic/demographic information…how old I am, how much I make a year, etc. I probably spent about five minutes doing that and…
The following page informed me that, never mind, we don’t want your opinion after all; we are looking for respondents with a different demographic breakdown from yours. I was stunned.
Now, I’m in the business, and immediately realized that this was nothing more than a fishing (no, not ‘phishing’) expedition for marketing purposes. They had lured me in to give them my information (nothing identifying, of course) under the false promise that I’d receive something of value in return for my thoughts. It was a dishonest ruse. They had gotten what they wanted, a picture of the likely mark who’d partake in this survey, didn’t have to bother listening to anything I may have to say about what they wanted to ask about (and of course, therefore not take any action on anything they may learn), and got to keep their gift card.
As I sat mildly stewing, I reflected on the questions I had been asked, the overwhelming majority of which they already knew about me: how frequently I used their services, the part of the country in which I live, and such. So to add ridiculousness to injury, they probably didn’t even get too much from me they don’t already have. (I’ve written about this foolish way of surveying before.) But even if it had been the case that they had anything new to learn about me, why would they risk the bad will of the bait-and-switch just to get a few more data points? Because here’s a bit of data for you: Even long-time Customers get pissed off when you waste their time for your own ends.
I even forwarded the initial email I had received inviting me to the survey to the Customer Support team, calling them out on their scam. Not surprisingly, I never heard back.
Also not surprisingly, I’ve since changed service providers.