Monday, May 9, 2011

Survey Backlash

Everybody wants to know what I think.  I'm so flattered.  Every time I go on a website, a survey window pops up.  Every time I shop, the cashier is circling something on the receipt and telling me "go to our website and take a survey."  Right.  I'll get right on that.  Just as soon as I clean out my purse.  So, like three months from now, okay?

My son's preschool just sent home a 3 page survey form.  Three pages.  Front and Back.  Something about accreditation, full of questions like "My child's teacher cares about what's important to my child, and My child's teacher gives me ample opportunities to participate in classroom activities."  And I was supposed to respond Yes; Yes, but; No, but; or No
The thought of answering questions with "Yes, but I couldn't care less, because I just want to get away from my kid for a few hours so I can shop, think, clean, shower without the voices in my head saying "Mommy, mommy, mommyyyy"," just seemed way too tedious, and too shamefully honest.

So I just whipped through that survey, circling yeses like crazy, even accidentally some that I should have chosen "not applicable" because overall, I'm satisfied with my child's school.  So yes, they have accommodated my child's special needs, language barriers, discipline issues, and food allergies, or, I assume they would have, if he had any.  Hope this helps.  

Then today, when I went to swipe my credit card at Kmart, the lovely card reader prompts a survey before I can even make a payment.  What tha..???

It asks me, "how likely are to to recommend to another person to shop at Kmart?"

Again, they don't have a choice that fits my thought process, which is, "Much to my surprise, I was rethinking my whole hatred of Kmart today because you actually sell plain white, sturdy, Rubbermaid laundry baskets, unlike Target that's so focused on being trendy that every laundry basket they sell is a non-branded weirdly-shaped modern art piece in colors that match nothing in my home or in nature.  And your employees were pleasant today which is nice.  A shocker, but nice.  But now, I'm just thinking, I'm "Not At All Likely" to recommend a person to shop at Kmart, because you are forcing me to participate in this moronic survey."

Fortunately the cashier was both nice, and smart, and as soon as I grumbled at the screen, she said, "I don't know why they do this," and quickly pushed "Likely" on the screen on my behalf.

I understand the desire for feedback, but I wonder if researchers are taking into account the "survey backlash effect."  How about you add one more question.  "Does this survey annoy you?"  
  • Yes greatly, it triggered an aneurysm. 
  • Yes, (I threw up in my mouth) a little bit. 
  • No, not any more than your average housefly or mosquito. 
  • No, not at all, what annoys me is everything else about your website/establishment/self.


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! OMG, you crack me up. I agree, the survey thing is OUT OF CONTROL! I love it when a cashier is grouchy...until the very, very end of the transaction, when they turn all nicey nice while they're circling the website where you can rate their (crappy) service.

  2. Love it! All so true! I especially love the fast food ones .. I'm always tempted to go in and complete those surveys. I never have though ... I wonder if there is a response that says, yep, you forgot my straw, again! No napkins, no problem, even though I ordered 2 kids meals!! Who needs them anyhow, my kids wear shirts ... their napkin of choice anyhow! You know ... things like that! Love to read your blog .. only problem, not enough entries ... write more ... after all, it is ALL ABOUT ME!! :)

  3. I hate it when the car repair shop or doctor's office has a survey service call to ask you how your experience was.

    My standard reply is, "Since I didn't call you up to bitch about it, I must have thought it was ok, but now that you seem to be so concerned about it, I suddenly have the nervous feeling that my experience must have sucked. What did you screw up? Do I need to bring my car/disease back to have it fixed right?"


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