"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
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 …
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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!!!!!
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.
"I delete every such email"
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.
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.
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...
ITS NOT REAL!
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).
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?
"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.
You need to re-read the BOFH compendium. The BOFH can edit your printout while is queued/before it reaches the fax machine/while its in the outbound email queue. There's nothing an accountant can break that at BOFH can't fix, permanently.
When I used to have to get reviewed yearly, I made it a point to have the surveys sent to the 3-4 engineers that I thought I had pissed off the most during the previous year....and I never got a bad review.
It's a long-running joke that the finance department and the IT department (or specifically the BOFH and PFY) have been at war almost since they started working there. This is just a continuation of that. Also, you have no guarantee that there was someone at PR who had a recent interaction with them and that they wanted to annoy.
More seriously though, every part of a business that does work usually has some usefulness to the rest of them. That doesn't mean that everyone will like them. This site is primarily read by people working in IT or development/engineering, so those departments in general get fewer insults (although the work of others in that area will also be described badly). Also from this readership, it is natural to hear more complaints about departments that frequently place obligations or restrictions on IT or engineering. PR is often not connected to those very often, while other departments are. For example, the following departments have these stereotypical ways of annoying the technical employee:
Finance: Refusing to pay for things that would assist the technology of the company, such as a more reliable backup solution or development resources.
Marketing: Primarily for engineering, agreeing to provide some technical product or service that does not yet exist and expecting the relevant department to create it without previously consulting them.
Security: Primarily for IT, placing restrictions on access which make it harder for staff to resolve technical issues.
And of course, I don't think you can talk very long to anyone outside of senior and middle management and not hear complaints about senior and middle management. When those complaints are made, general as they often are, they're not made purely out of malice. Neither are they always correct or well-measured.
Much as I am not a fan of telephone, online or (worse) text message "can you just spare five minutes to tell us how we did" surveys, the ones which really baffle me are those little things-on-sticks which either have a screen, or have four or five physical buttons with green smiley face to red frowny face pictures (just an example, I'm sure there are plenty of other manufacturers). My kids take great delight in walking past the things and mashing the buttons at random, and I've seen plenty of other children and adults doing the same. They cannot possibly provide any useful information to the people whose job it is to examine the survey "results".
I've seen those on the way out of toilets in various places, surveying how clean the loos are. Like I'm going to touch that after I've just washed my hands, especially on observation of the general level of cleanliness of the bottom quartile of the human population. It's likely to be more germ-ridden than that bit under the back of the toilet seat than never gets cleaned.
Apparently all of the really cool HR departments are putting kiosks like that in factories. No clue what changes the results are supposed to drive. "Huh, we imposed mandatory overtime, cancelled free coffee, and swiched the toilet paper from 'cheap' to 'transparent/waterproof' and our employee satisfaction declined 22.6%... Weird."
That reminds me of a former employer where management removed the coffeepots (claiming fire hazard), and then removed one of the refrigerators in the break room to make space for a coffee/hot drinks vending machine.
At $0.25/cup. And the brew tasted like Satan's urine filtered through sawdust.
The howls of outrage didn't *really* begin until we peons discovered that the director had a family business installing, stocking, and maintaining vending machines.
Morale was already pretty bad but that was where I learned things can always get worse.
At the very first place to pay me a salary (back in the 1990s), the slightly eccentric owner installed a vending machine in the staff room which dispensed acceptable coffee, drinkable tea, pretty good chocolate, still and fizzy cold drinks (which in those days still had sugar in them rather than sweeteners) and a changing selection of cup-a-soups, all free.
Morale at that place was actually very good, particularly among some male members of staff who would find the slightest excuse to visit the girl in "stores", who had a habit in warm weather of wearing baggy T-shirts with nothing underneath.
Oh come on, I was only just out of my teens and very impressionable :-)
They cannot possibly provide any useful information to the people whose job it is to examine the survey "results".
Any information (strictly speaking, data) for people paid to examine the results. Data means pay. The lack of useful information in the data is a problem for those paying for such garbage.
They could conceivably provide useful data. I know a statistician who works in something like this. The question is how many total inputs you need for all the random inputs to be reasonably expected to cancel out. Then you're only looking at the excess over the randomly distributed base.
For one of my customers I only seem to get a request to complete the survey when it's a trivial problem that could be solved quickly. I know that some people's performance reviews depend on this, but if I get the feeling it's being gamed (not by the grungs but by bonus-chasing "managers") I bail.
Normally you can assume that if we don't complain we're happy or at least satisfied. If this is not the case, make it easy for us to say what didn't work, otherwise forget it.
When logged on to Outlook earlier this week, I was bombarded with (at least three) popups.
The first one asked for my assent to new privacy policies, which, upon reading deeper, related to "cloud connected features" which were now available to me.
Listen you stupid gits: I use Outlook because my company makes me use it for email and calendar. Otherwise, I'd be running Linux. I do not want your "store", your "cloud-connected features" (whatever those might be), or your gratuitous insertion of extra space between my emails to allow me to "read them better". Just leave it all the way I have it set up and don't cause me to have to spend 20 minutes undoing all your "new features" which I never wanted in the first place.
Oh, and your "outlook metrics" from last week? I'll give you a metric to measure: how deep can you shove them where the sun doesn't shine?
Happy pub o'clock everyone!
"Well, I think that went well," the PFY says.
"Yes, but we've hardly created a body of data have we?" I reply.
I disagree that it is so on El Reg, for surely daily do fans and commentards supply colossal realms of information for the most intelligent of future uses.
If truth be told, El Reg is Almighty Loded ..... :-) and that is Always Attractive to Hostile Take Overers with Flash Cash to Spend for Purchase of Assets Ethereal or OtherWise as may very well be the case in an El Registered Supply Network with AI Product Chains to Trail and Trial/Beta Test and Further Mentor.
Capiche, AmIGo. Everything's Ready for Immediate Supply. What do you Need .... to Seed for Future Feed, apart from the parts that are constantly supplied for free utilisation and open source exploitation with an Almighty Imagination?
Those are always best never missed ..... for there you can lead what you follow to the source of all future destinations. And I'd wager there are precious few able to enable any or all of that, and with so much more available too preparing and resting for their introduction/universal media stream presentation.
My ISP sent me a customer satisfaction survey, which I used to highlight the billing issues I'd been trying to get their support team to fix for almost a year.
They replied very apologetically, promise to investigate the issue, and of course it vanished into the same black hole as all my previous requests.
A few months later, they sent me another customer satisfaction survey. I raised the issue again. I got a snotty reply that I should't be complaining about that because I'd already complained about it the previous time.
I'll definitely be complaining about the response on the next survey.
You are the sunshine of my life
That's why I'll always be around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my heart
I feel like this is the beginning
Though I've loved you for a million years
And if I thought our love was ending
I'd find myself drowning in my own tears
You are the sunshine of my life, yes you are
That's why I'll always be around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my heart
You must to know, you must to know that I was lonely
Because you came to my rescue
I know that I must be in heaven
How could so much love be inside of you?
Inside of you
Are the sunshine of my life
Just a thought from a re-run episode of NCIS, body was found in the bath, which had been filled with cat litter. Seems, since I've never tried it, the kitty litter absorbs all the body fluids and the smells of a decomposing body.... Think Simon and the PFY have missed out on this one....
Came here for the comments and was not disappointed. Bonus was ElReg asking me to turn off my ad blocker so they could scrape my responses to their ads.
When I used to work for a Stockbroker (national so IT was reasonably large) and we were constantly getting bombarded with "Survey" requests. Really they were lead hunting missions for various vendors. Funniest response I saw was my boss responding to a survey from "Hell-stra" telling them that the reason he went elsewhere was because they effectively shutdown for 2 months at Christmas time, usually when we were in the middle of firing up new offices for the start of the year.
Our standard response to phone surveys was "Our company policy is not to respond to surveys" to which they would still try to claim that it was not a survey.
I was on the phone with an un-named company and they asked if i would do a survey at the end...and here's the good part.
They specifically asked that i NOT give them 10 as their system registered that as a zero and they got gigged for it.
Don't know...service was ok so i gave them 9's.
I had a survey for something a few months ago with a bunch of "On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very dissatisfied and 5 is very satisfied..." questions. I answered most of them at a '4' for satisfactory as whatever it was had achieved my goal in the timely fashion I'd hoped. I hit submit and then got presented with a page with free text space and the question "Please explain why you didn't rate XYZ as a '5' "
I explained that their service was perfectly fine and I had no problems with it, but their survey was badly designed and how does one separate between 'satisfied' and 'very satisfied' - If they wanted the extreme rating then they'd have to be 'exceptional' and not 'expected'. Possibly the difference in mentality between typical British (s'alright) and American (AWESOME!) outlooks on life?
Blood boiling time.
I've had to use so many systems over the years that simply didn't match the requirements of the people using them. ( Usually getting information in, getting it out and making sense of it, while not taking up too much of the time required to actually use the information). Because of over complex interfaces, weird jargon, unanswerable/compulsory question fields and so forth.
It's the users who do know what they want. And not their management who have a hazy idea about what the users even do. Obvious example was a health and safety thing once* that asked about some equipment that we didn't have or need, (presumably some other dept. did) but was a compulsory field and you couldn't move on to relevant stuff without answering it.
*Once. By the following year the whole shebang had mysteriously ceased to exist.
Once upon a time, I was temporarily employed to ring an IT provider's list of employees for a medical company in America. Asking them if they had a few minutes spare to respond to a survey to gauge their opinion of the IT firm in question.
I had never done work like this before, and I'll NEVER do it again!
One customer answered, and within minutes was swearing obscenities at me, claiming to be in the middle of operating on a patient, and how dare I interrupt such a delicate procedure.
Not being a professional phone jockey, and having decided that very moment that I was not going to return for the next shift, I expressed my hope that his patient survives the operation, despite the unprofessionalism of the surgeon, who by his own admission, cares more for answering the phone, than his patient's well-being.
It's a waste of time for Helpdesk people to send out a survey about Help desk Performance. If their boss can't figure it out, then they are overpaid, and not doing their job. I'm not calling anyone to ask them any survey questions. I'm not doing anyone else's job for them, without a raise in pay, and position. I've had to send out these surveys before and they never resulted in anyone doing their job any better.
In my first role, I was a developer at a company that made survey software (this predates the .com boom, so desktop apps). We also used said software to run surveys for companies who couldn't be bothered to read the manual - usually at an extortionate cost.
Anyhoo, one such survey was for an engineering company in the Republic of Ireland who shall remain anonymous. Fitting really because, in the interest of garnering "honest" feedback, said company's management deemed that the survey responses should anonymous...
So yes, we are conducting a paper-based survey of a bunch of workshop-floor southern Irish engineers who are not compelled to provide their names. Oh, and there's an "any other comments" box at the end of the survey.
We got back some very... colourful responses. Some of them contained words I don't even know - although that could be down to some creative use of Old Irish. But my favourite by far was the guy who merely put his hand with middle finger extended over the comment box and drew round it.
Too bad the boss wouldn't let me ASCII-art that one into the corresponding free-text field.
If you have had good service from the technical people or those dealing with the issue but you know they are hampered by bad practice/product etc you can fill the survey to that end. I have had good responses and seen changes in the vendors methods but that maybe an exception.
I've now experienced salespeople in shops begging me to give them at least an 8 on the survey that is send out afterwards, or they'll get docked their entire bonus. Which is completely stupid as especially in the Netherlands, NO-ONE is going to give more than a 7 by default, MAYBE an 8 if you've really done an outstanding and superhuman job. It's just not in our culture to be throwing out 10s. How this is even legal in the Netherlands I don't know.
F***ING SURVEY EMAILS. Every Tom, Dick and Mary wants to know how they did and expects me to supply them with that data. So, what they are telling me is that every time I interact with their company, they then want me to spend some of my valuable time telling them how they did? For FREE? Nah!!
I'll do it for cold hard cash, but that's it. No bogus competition shite or 10% discount on next purchase (so long as it's in the next 60 seconds!) garbage. CASH! Will also accept beer but none of that watery lager crap!
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