Life certainly has gotten easier with technology.  In the last month, I have used my phone to book air travel from Traverse City, arrange for a hotel stay, make reservations for dinner and request a ride from a stranger while in Austin.  I managed all of this (and more) without ever speaking to another human.  I have to admit, all of those tasks were super easy and convenient for me.

Because there was no interaction with a human, no interface with an actual representative with each of the various companies there is no way to banter, chat, kibitz or otherwise establish any rapport or convey any feelings, thoughts or attitudes on my part.  This is where I believe the problem begins.  After each of those various services occurred (I got the flight, caught a ride to the restaurant, ate the food and stayed in the hotel), I received a needy email from the service provider asking me how they did.

The email starts out with something like, thanks for being a loyal customer, I saw that you recently took a flight to blah, blah, blah, we want you to take three minutes to tell us how we did.  Hey Brian, how was your meal at blah, blah, blah?  Brian, was everything ok with your stay?  We want to thank you for choosing us and ask you to take five minutes to fill out this survey to tell us how we are doing.

At first, I diligently answered every one of them.  I am a business owner, so I know how important feedback is and desperately want to exceed satisfaction with our own client experiences, so I always answered their surveys.  That was maybe a couple of years ago.  Now, I am so jaded and turned off by every request for wanting to know my opinion, or to rate them on a five-star system or a range of answers from strongly agree to strongly disagree with various statements.  I am done.  Literally, if I answered every single survey and took three minutes here, five minutes there, I am convinced that I would spend thirty to forty minutes per month.  Multiply that by 12 and they should consider putting me on the payroll and start paying me benefits.  It either feels very needy and insecure to me or out of touch with who I am.  Either way, I believe corporate America needs to find a different approach to getting valuable feedback.

Of course, I have no shortage of ideas.  I use the services of the aforementioned businesses often enough that I have some “status” with each of the providers.  I am not bragging (because if I would brag, it certainly would not be about my airline status), but the status implies a certain commitment on the part of the user.  I will choose one hotel chain and one airline over the others when possible.  How about giving me a few extra points for answering very specific, and helpful, questions.  If I were to be asked infrequently, and maybe by a human vs an email, I would be much more inclined to participate in their little surveys.  I do have a vested interest in helping them improve their services as I am a beneficiary of them, but come on, have a little respect and figure out a way to improve on getting that information.

By the way, how are we doing?  On a scale from 37 to 82, how would you rate this blog?  Or, which statement best represents you: “This was by far the best blog that I have read in the last five minutes.”  Strongly agree, slightly agree, neither agree nor disagree, slightly disagree, strongly disagree