I Don’t Do Surveys

Anneliese Fox
3 min readFeb 9, 2022

Neither should you.

Mushrooms on a log
Mushrooms on a log. Image by author.

My opinions are worth more to me than they are to you. Opinions, in my opinion, should not be trod upon, nor commoditized. Nor should they be shared lightly.

So what got me on my soapbox this time? Someone called me on my phone. I don’t know who. I’m sure he’s a nice enough person. His voice sounded nice. But he’d rattled off who he was with, that he was conducting a survey, and was into the first question before I was finished saying “Hello.”

I said, “Excuse me, but I don’t do surveys,” and hung up.

Because. I. Don’t. Do. Surveys.

Neither should you, in my opinion. (You, of course, are entitled to have whatever opinion you want on this matter. I won’t fault you for that.)

Surveys, these days, are big business. Besides giving the poor guy in the call center a job, and making his boss rich, what purpose do they serve? They produce, at best, some statistics. But are those statistics even useful?

Customer satisfaction surveys are among the most contentious. As the customer, I’ve paid you to receive a good or service. But part of that fee is going to be used to ask me if I feel good about the transaction. Firstly, I’d feel better if I wasn’t being charged for nonsense. Secondly, if you, dear Vendor don’t know whether your employees are doing a good job, or that your product works, then you have more serious problems than what can be solved by a simple survey. Either you haven’t sufficiently trained your employees, or you aren’t paying attention. Or both. You don’t need a survey to realize and fix either of those problems.

When I go into a store, I expect the clerks to be informed and helpful. If they aren’t, I’ll take my business elsewhere. What else would I do? When I take my car in for service, I expect the technicians to be competent and on schedule. And in no way can I respect an employee having to beg me to complete the survey about their service because it affects their performance review. Managers, you should be ashamed of your collective selves. The employee in that case is going to get a stellar review from me, even if their work was shitty. Frankly, I don’t care if your company rates top in customer service. That’s a bad metric to use for product evaluation.

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Anneliese Fox

Writer of speculative fiction, programmer, artist in wood and clay, owner of Fox Computer Systems. My almost weekly blog follows what interests me at the moment