Survey says: Guilty of not filling out your survey

I guess I should be happy that JetBlue and American Express and Dividend Miles and my kids’ pediatrician, and my dentist, and the Hertz "Gold" program, which I signed up for, but never used, care about what I think.

But on a scale of one to five, with one being "I am respected, hear me roar," and five being "I feel ignored," I’m all the way at ten—as in, "What kind of sucker do you take me for?" Apparently it’s not enough that I give these businesses my money, now I’ve got do their market research, too—for free.

Oh, excuse me, to be fair, sometimes they do offer a tiny payment, or the remote chance of winning a prize—both of which are obviously designed to get me to use the product or service again, which in turn will trigger … another survey. I don’t see a living in it.

But the surveys are gaining on me. The country’s best-known survey platform, SurveyMonkey, is now processing survey responses at the rate of 2.2 million per day, up from one million a day in January 2013, and it recently introduced a mobile app, meaning clients don’t even have to be at their desks to create and zap off a survey. Look out, here comes one now!

We have the internet to thank for this, of course. Online technology makes it less expensive and easier to send surveys than in the past, when data analysis took longer, and at least the cost of stamps were a deterrent.  

But you know, there can be one thing worse than taking a survey: not taking it. At my sons’ local GameStop, the employees are so nice, and make such heartfelt appeals for me to fill out the Customer Experience Survey that I feel actual remorse when I don’t. Survey guilt—who would have thought it possible?

About the author

Beth Teitell writes for the Boston Globe. Her most recent book is called "Drinking Problems at the Fountain of Youth."

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