It's not enough that I pay Verizon nearly $90 per month for internet access. No, they also want my "valuable feedback." That's why they emailed me a customer survey on March 18. "Please take a moment to answer a few short questions so we can be sure to provide you with the best service possible," said the email, signed by the cheerful-sounding "Verizon team."
"Dear Verizon team," I wrote back, "I'd be happy to provide feedback, but I charge $20 per survey. Is my opinion valuable enough for you to pay my going rate?"
Until, that is, I got the same survey request again, exactly one month later.
"Dear Verizon," I wrote back, doing my best impression of the world's most naïve customer. "As I mentioned before, I charge $20 per customer survey. If you're not willing to pay me for my time, I'm not willing to fill out a survey. The fact that I've already told you this information gives me the impression that no one is reading these emails."
This time, a response. "Thank you for contacting us," the message began, sounding a hopeful tone. But then, a negative turn: "You replied to an email address that does not accept incoming messages." Worse, this one wasn't from the "team," but rather the more austere-sounding "customer support."
I've been on this quixotic adventure for about six months now — asking innocently for a little bit of compensation for completing surveys. Whether it's Sprint asking me how my phone service is going, or United Van Lines asking me how my recent move went, I've shown a willingness to give my "valuable feedback" under one condition: Pay me for my time.
Other people, especially those who do survey research themselves, feel a kind of obligation. "I try to take as many customer surveys as I'm offered," says Nicole Staricek, a doctoral candidate in communication at the University of Kentucky. "I believe in survey karma and never know when my research will ask people to reciprocate the favor."
But the population at large seems to have grown weary of taking surveys for little or nothing in return. "I have heard the phrase 'feedback fatigue,' about constant requests to evaluate services like flights and hotel stays," says Dr. Frederick Conrad, a cognitive psychologist and research professor in the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan.
Read the full article "The rising revolt against customer surveys" at The Week.