Do you want my opinion or not?

Like most of us, I receive a lot of emails – but do try to read and respond to most.  I am not too worried about the marketing or PR type of emails I might get either as they can be useful fodder for a blogpost. 

So I was interested to receive a customer service email from Waitrose since I am a fan and shop in my local store.  The email arrived last Friday – the day before a bank holiday weekend.  This morning, I clicked on the link to be informed the survey had closed.

Of course, one of the benefits of online surveys is that you can get “instant” feedback – but if you are genuinely interested in customer satisfaction, then closing a survey within a few working days is ridiculous.  Checking on the terms and conditions link from the email, it says “Entries for the prize draw must be received by end of May 2008” – well there are still three whole days to the start of June.

Now I’m left with wondering if the company really does want my opinion or not.  If the survey did require immediate completion, shouldn’t it have stated so in the email?  Then I wouldn’t have wasted my time and felt rather negatively towards the brand I normally support.

In fact, I question if this was even a genuine survey or more about collecting information for marketing purposes or one of those token surveys to get data to prove how wonderful you are.

Research is all too often abused in these ways.  If you want to gain someone’s opinion – and expect this for free – then at least show the courtesy of really listening, and preferably taking action as a result.  That’s what I call feedback.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.