Wednesday, March 14, 2007

voice of the medium-satisfied people

I’ve developed a strange new hobby of filling out consumer satisfaction surveys. It started with a questionnaire about an Excel class I took at the Center for Nonprofit Management. They’re nice folks down there at the Center, so I filled it out. And I won a digital camera as a result.

Now, even though most surveys don’t enter you to win anything, I can’t stop. Earlier this week I let the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco know that I that the cleanliness of their bathrooms exceeded my expectations. I even typed a nice note into the optional “comments” box. Today I informed that the staff at Payless Car Rental was slightly below average in friendliness.

Part of it is the fake power: Expedia is listening to me! Part of it is empathy. Someone on the other end of the DSL line is compiling the results of these surveys, and I feel like it helps to balance their conclusions if not all the respondents are crazy, retired or venting about the worst customer service experience of their life. (Though the survey I filled out for Symantec probably landed me in the latter category.)

And part of it is the simplicity of being asked nothing more than whether you strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree with a statement. As I’ve mentioned before, it would be nice if voting were so appealing and potentially lucrative (the Miyako offered me a free upgrade with my next visit as a thank-you).

Nevertheless, I was starting to feel guilty about the time I’d devoted to Expedia when I still hadn’t responded to my friend Jo Anna Mixpe Ley’s email plea to help the undeservedly controversial multilingual charter school she works at renew its charter in the face of some crap from the LAUSD powers that be.

So I emailed all seven school board members. It was really easy, and it felt even better than a scented bath in one of the Miyako’s spa-style tubs.


thelastnoel said...

You know, part of my job is to do "evaluations" and "community needs assessments." Which means doing lots and lots of surveys. I love people like you who actually put thought into filling them out. In some cases, it feels like people closed their eyes and picked randomly.

Cheryl said... I can call it a community service after all.