back to article BOFH: When was the last time someone said these exact words to you: You are the sunshine of my life?

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So the PFY and I are in the Boss's office having sat through a 10-minute monologue on the importance of client surveys with a request that we come up with a way of reporting satisfaction levels to him by the time he rocks back from a half-hour meeting. He's apparently just realised that …


  1. Maverick


    "It's as if surveys actually irritated people rather than made them feel like their needs were being heard."

    perfect nail / head interface, I delete every such email

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I delete every such email"

      It depends how evil I feel.

      Sometimes the surveys lead you in a clear direction - I take the road less travelled...

      1. Chris King

        Be careful of low-balling the scores, that can trigger a follow-up call. Three once annoyed me with a survey, so I gave them zeroes across the board to make a point. Next thing I know, someone more senior calls me, wanting to know why I gave the scores I did.

        "You screwed up my service, then asked me to tell you how well you did. What the hell did you expect ?"

        Let's just say that short-circuited his little script.

        1. Captain Scarlet

          Even middle scores have annoyed the outsourcer, unfortunatley because its not linked to anything I then sent in another one damning them for trying to up their scores.

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          - Why did you give this a score of 1/10?

          + Because your system doesn't allow zeros. Except in management positions, obviously.

        3. corbpm

          My recent 3 survey i ended with

          The in store was fine, I'm happy. The sms survey is annoying.

          0 for the sms, get the hint

          The reply;

          Thanks for your feedback. with marketting blurb.

          I did to be fair only last for about 5 questions but they where texted over 2 days.

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        Filling in totally random values just to screw things up is my approach. Swinging wildly from VERY enthusiastic to homicidally aggravated between categories should confuse interpretation. Alternatively, fill out "Not Applicable" whenever possible.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          I recently did compulsory survey from my employer about desks, chairs, screens, keyboards etc. There was no "not applicable" option and I'm not office based so pretty much no questions applied to me. But then these sorts of things are created by office based people and since they never see us remote people, we don't exist but are still on the mailing lists.

        2. chr0m4t1c

          Ha, you just reminded me of the time that I did a survey for a hotel chain and answered "did not use" for all of the questions, including the ones about the bed and the bathroom.

          I sort of wonder what they think I did in their hotel...

          1. J P

            Possibly the same as a university friend who picked up his key on arrival at the Boat Club Annual Dinner, put his bag in the room then lost the key and proceeded to drink so much he couldn't even remember which his room was, and in any event ended up accompanying someone else to their room anyway.

            Remarkably, when he told the management about this the following morning, they retrieved his bag for him and then gave him a partial refund on the room as he hadn't used it... (it was a small country house independent place in Suffolk, not a chain. And I suspect they'd made enough on bar takings to feel generous)

      3. dc_m

        Don't ask me for a survey unless you are prepared for me to tell you what I think of you, particularly if you have pissed me off!

    2. Trygve Henriksen

      As I told the caller after they called to interupt my work 'I'm satisfied with everything, except these annying calls afterwards. Now please fuck off, I have work to do'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nobody performing these surveys wants to do it. They are however often your junior colleagues or if not that minimum wage call centre staff. There is no need to make the job any harder or more stressful than it needs to be. I do occasionally answer the surveys but if I am too busy (the usual situation) I politely explain that.

        I've had to manage these surveys during project roll outs, I agree that their worth is debatable but when the c suite want the metrics and won't listen then we are forced to go ahead with them.

        I have watched hard working very junior team members reduced to tears by the aggressive reaction they receive for doing their job. I've seen team members who I would have encouraged down a technical route leave the profession altogether because its just too aggressive.

        I wouldn't accept one of my technical specialists being treated rudely or abused and if the F word were used it would be an HR incident instantly. If a junior team member of my team were treated that way it would quite possibly require the use of a cattle prod, roll of carpet and quicklime (good job I've just bought an estate car)

        1. Chris King

          I won't abuse people calling for surveys, but that doesn't mean that I have to put up with nonsense. I will firmly but politely refuse to take part, unless there's a good reason to continue the call.

          I had one from Microsoft this morning - they've noticed that I don't make full use of my Ofiice 365 tenancy and wanted to know why. Raising a ticket in my name and repeatedly calling me is not going to make me any more talkative.

          "Quite frankly, I find your marketing campaign creepy AND I specifically DIDN'T opt-in for surveys. Please close the ticket and take me off whatever list you're using for this nonsense. Good day !"

          Salescritters who phone up pretending to be running a survey are a whole different matter - they're wasting my time AND they've already lied to me to make that happen. All bets are off for a pleasant conversation.

          1. short a sandwich

            Lying at the start of a new commercial relationship that's going to end well with me too.

          2. KBeee Bronze badge

            That's because TPS bans sales calls, but allows surveys. BT used to use this tactic.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          My problem with the surveys is often that I know someone will actually use my number to affect someone else's job, either giving them credit for a good interaction or requiring them to explain about a bad one. That's fine if they really did a great job or a terrible one, but there are lots of more ambiguous situations. For example, I'm never sure what score to give when I still have the problem I called about but it's not at all the fault of the person I talked to and they probably did their best to help me but couldn't because of restrictions placed on them. If I give a ten, it makes it sound like I'm satisfied with everything. If I give a low number, it sounds as if the person I talked to was bad at their job. No good answer.

        3. tfewster Silver badge

          He was polite - he said "Please fuck off"

          1. Trygve Henriksen

            Also, I never use the F-word the first time they call(that year).

            Telling them that I don't want to be bothered with surweys now or in the future doesn't seem to stick.

        4. imanidiot Silver badge

          The problem with some of these surveys is that you can't get the person on the other end to understand you don't want to take part politely. And at times you'd even have a hard time convincing them with a clue-by-four.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I'm actually happy to give people answers to surveys - but only if I've got the time. Because in some cases is does improves service. And you can usually tell from the survey pretty quickly.

      Biggest clue is time taken. If the survey says it takes 2 minutes, and you hit question 10 and it still says 1% done - then you know it's all bollocks.

      Or if you get one on the usablity of a website and the second question isn't about page loading times or menu placements but asks "how did your interaction with our animation style make you feel? 1. Emporwered; 2. Awesome; 3. Soaring like an eagle; 4. Fantabuloso; etc...

      So I close the survey as soon as I come to a question that I can't understand or that's written in such obvious marketing bullshit that I know the answers are going to be transcribed into an unreadable graph on a powerpoint slide to be shown at a training meeting in Hell's boardroom.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        written in such obvious marketing bullshit that I know the answers are going to be transcribed into an unreadable graph on a powerpoint slide to be shown at a training meeting in Hell's boardroom.

        That's not Hell's boardroom. Hell's boardroom doesn't piss about with surveys, Hell's boardroom gets things done. Just look around you...

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Hell's boardroom is a place of tranquility and calm in comparison to some of the scrum retrospectives I have been forced to host and review.

        If there is a tool for the 8th circle of Hell that they want to use to torture the souls of BitCoin fraudsters then it must be making those souls allocate how much time they require for suffering and torment in Jira.

      3. Criggie

        I often add in any comments that "NPS is a crap scoring system" which is true.

        Anything between 0 and 6 out of 10 is a failure or a "detratctor". 7 and 8 are scored as neutral, and only 9 or 10 is a positive / "promoter"

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      And to make them worse, they never ask about the fucking things that they do crap. Only the anodyne or (occasionally) excellent stuff.

      Yes the call handler that took my complaint was friendly and understanding.

      Now ask me if the poor sod was able to achieve anything- and presumable give her 1/10 for not being able to do anything about your total wankery. Thereby ducking the fact that it is not her fault!!!!!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having been outsourced from a competent (honestly) and friendly public sector organisation to a private company that was neither, we were all a little less bubbly than normal, particularly when they started binning the most expensive (i.e. experienced and useful) staff.

      They sent round a satisfaction survey and got a predictably unenthusiastic response.

      Once the results were tallied they called us all to a meeting where we were bollocked for having low morale.

      I do not know if morale improved after we all left.

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly

        Did the random beatings continue?

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Once the results were tallied they called us all to a meeting where we were bollocked for having low morale.

        I have hanging in my office the perfect sign for that.. "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I delete every such email"


      eBay purchase.

      Newsletter arrives on email address specifically allocated for PayPal. Reply pointing that out and now I have to go to the trouble of allocating a new email address and setting the old one to bounce with an appropriate message.

      Request for a survey arrives on email address specifically allocated for eBay but not through eBay's own system. They got their survey. They won't like it. It restricts itself to their spamming. And that also required a new address to be allocated.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have carried out surveys

      And not all were failures. We were in fact trying to get information from users about changes they would like to see in parts of their IT system.

      At one company the IT director - let's call him Elmer - informed us that surveys were a waste of time,that he didn't see any point, that users didn't know what they wanted anyway...but he was overruled and the one concession he got was that users would be identified only by screen names they chose at survey time, and if they signed up to receive the report, their email addresses would be deleted afterwards.

      Over 500 office staff completed that survey, and we had screen names like "Elmerisamuppet", "Elmersucksbigtime" and "ITsucksdonkeyshit".

      In the "tell us what you think" free text box we got some actual essays.

      Two significant things came out of the survey beyond the wild unpopularity of Elmer and his colleagues; the fact that many consultants got back to the office quite late in the evening and had to print material for the next day, but IT support stopped at 5 which meant if printers were not working, people were in trouble; and second, that the most requested feature was A5 booklet printing, which saved an immense amount of effort including lugging piles of A4 reports with edge binders.

      We also discovered that a lot of people would support waste reduction and recycling, that hardly anybody spoiled the questionnaire, and that there were a lot of nitpicks that could have been addressed if anybody was listening. In fact, the company clearly had a lot of thoughtful and motivated people working for it.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon

    What the hell Simon? Were you a fly on the wall in my morning meeting?? I was going for a Network, "I'm mad as hell" as the rain runs down my face kind of thing.... but Al Pacino will work!

    Now about the iPhone...

  3. cosymart


    Not up to the normal BOFH as I got bored half way through and wondered how come the PFY is still a PFY given the years this series has been going and surly by now he is a POG (Pockmarked Old Git).

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Hmmm

      It's like the Simpsons, how come Maggie is still a baby when she's older than I am--by a few years, anyway.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        In an attempt to stave off death, Mr Burns had a secret particle accelerator built underneath the nuclear power plant. The accelerator's near-lightspeed beam creates a time loop, subjecting everyone in the field to live the same week over and over in a seemingly endless variety of permutations. As such, no-one ages, no-one really remembers any specifics of what went on last week, but somehow they still manage to keep up with the outside world.

        Damn, Friday cannot end quickly enough...

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm

          hmm , I think thats happening to me

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm

          What's a part-tickle ass-elevator?

          It's a big thing that looks like a donut.

          Mmmmmmmm.... Donuts.... arrrrgggllll...

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Hmmm

            That would explain Homer's obsession with them...

    2. Captain Scarlet

      Re: Hmmm


      You can't fit that many bodies under the false floor (They also tend to honk something fowl after a few days giving the game away) or have a dodgey window for that long (The Health and Safety Inspector backed up by the rozzers usually give you a legal demand to weld all the outside windows shut).

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        Honk something fowl? Someone been playing too much Untitled Goose Game?

        1. Captain Scarlet

          Re: Hmmm

          I thought it was slang used from The Beano?

          Where the hell has my hat gone!

      2. Alister

        Re: Hmmm

        honk something fowl

        So, geese then?

        Or did you mean foul?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm

          Maybe, Slobotham, we're approaching this case from the wrong angle.

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        ITS NOT REAL!

        And your point is?????

      4. Persona Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm

        "legal demand to weld all the outside windows shut"

        A window being welded closed doesn't make self-defenestration impossible. It's more about enthusiasm.

        Garry Hoy managed to prove this in 1993 whilst attempting to demonstrate how sturdy the windows were on the 24th floor.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Compared to the BOFH, the PFY will always be a PFY. Even if he's a POG in comparison to the WCF (Wide-eyed Cannon Fodder) making their way into the workforce.

      Until the day the BOFH electrocuted his last PHB and the student becomes the Master.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Excellent start to Beer o' clock

    Hi ho, it's off to the pubbe we goe...

  5. Chronos

    Ugh, surveys. (sweary)

    If they were honest, there would be a 98% rating for "For fuck's sake, I can't be bloody arsed with this bollocks right now! How did you do? You buggered off afterwards and I hoped never to have to call again which, to my mind, was the most positive outcome."

    It's like those puggers (poll muggers) in the street. The most popular answer would be "Fuck off. I work all hours $DEITY sends just to eke out a living and I'm shopping during a rare moment when I actually allocate my own time. This is already a low point in my miserable, mediocre life without you bastards boring me closer to death with leading questions."

    Oh, and how do I like my car part I had no choice but to buy? It didn't fall apart immediately, which probably means I was astute enough not to buy Quinton Hazell. Will that do?

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Ugh, surveys. (sweary)

      "how do I like my car part I had no choice but to buy? It didn't fall apart immediately"

      Not just car parts, but various other things, the only difference is how long they're going to last. You can pay double or triple for outwardly identical items. And then they ask you to review the purchase, before any difference would even begin to show up.

    2. A K Stiles

      Re: Ugh, surveys. (sweary)

      Had a great one a couple of days ago - "How would you rate these postage stamps, on a scale of 1 to 5?"

  6. Blackjack Silver badge

    You know...

    That accountants are responsible for you getting your paycheck and pay bonuses, right? They literally know were the money is.

    Next time bother the public relationships guy, they literally get fired if they are mean to people.


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