That used to be the question the late Ed Koch would ask everyone and anyone when he was mayor of New York City, from 1978 to 1989. I still think of old Ed whenever I’m asked for feedback on a survey, which is every other day or so.
When one person asks for feedback, you respond. The second request? OK, maybe. But the daily barrage tells me it’s time to find a new feedback mechanism.
Some recent examples:
- The bank that holds my personal accounts and one business checking account invites me to “Voice Your Opinion” by participating in a brief online survey about business banking needs. Me? I just need a checking account, which I already have.
- The vet would “greatly appreciate it” if I would complete a survey on my cat’s dental cleaning. They should really be asking my cat, although based on his yowling there and back, he wasn’t a happy camper.
- An industry executive community selected me to participate in an exclusive survey of its magazine readers. I’m not an exec in that industry, and I don’t read the magazine.
- A confirmation email for a product purchase alerts me I will be receiving an email survey within two weeks asking my opinion of service. Forewarned is forearmed; it was deleted immediately.
- The latest request came from an airline, with one email asking about my flight out and a second asking about my flight home. I don’t think any amount of feedback will give me more leg room, greater transparency on pricing, or guaranteed space in the overhead bin for carry-on luggage.
There is another reason behind my reluctance to publicly review all matters great and small. One of my clients was a small PR firm, and the principal died suddenly. As I was searching for information about funeral services, I came across his online review of a wastebasket he had purchased. He gave it a positive rating, and that rating kept popping up on subsequent searches as the days went by. I never discovered any funeral or memorial service for him, but I sure know how pleased he was with his wastebasket.
I’d hate for anyone’s last memory of me to be a review of some mundane piece of office furniture. So to all my vendors and service providers, unless you hear differently from me, you’re all doing just fine.