Please Stop the Survey Madness!

Or at least make them count for something that really matters!

Surveys. We all get them—all the time—and we are learning to hate them. And that's not a good thing. Even though I'm the Marketing Director at Murphy Bros., I grow weary of them too and that's part of my job!

This "survey fatigue" is due in part to the massive spread of surveys. It doesn’t matter what you buy, be it a car or a burger, you’re going to get a satisfaction survey. It's gotten to the point that I’m half expecting my local bait supplier to jump in...

Ridiculous, right. Well, maybe. Although, being able to return all my dead minnows...

Survey fatigue may explain why only about 60% of our qualitative surveys are filled out by our clients.

According to GuildQuality, the average is 67% for remodelers.

As consumers we are naturally skeptical about most everything—especially over what companies really want with all these surveys. Is it worth my time? How does it benefit me?

Furthermore, is it just about the good grade, the 5 stars on Google? And if so, can you even trust them? While it is estimated by Amazon that only 1% of their reviews are fake, that's roughly 2 million reviews! Fake reviews make it really hard for all of us to know anything for certain about a product or a company.

All fake reviews blessed by Amazon.

So what we're all wondering is, do companies actually care about what they did well AND WHAT THEY DIDN'T DO WELL? Do they really intend to do anything about it? In other words, is there a "why" behind the "what"? Does this survey really matter, does this review really count for anything other than a brand image?

Bottom line—you want to know if your opinion positively affects company operations or product quality, right?

Personally I think school has a lot to do with our perceptions of survey value. This will date me a bit, but when I was in school kids passed the time sticking their tongues to flag poles instead of talking with their thumbs. Then as now however, going for the grade is still too often more important than going for the knowledge...

TEACHER: Class, who can tell me about the Louisiana Purchase?

CLASS: Thomas Jefferson, 1803-04.

TEACHER: Class, why was this important?

CLASS: Thomas Jefferson, 1803-04

Furthermore, back in my day most kids didn’t get A’s regularly or easily. If you ever got straight A’s for one semester your folks would probably have been thrilled, right? Mine would have needed a defibrillator.

Now imagine you earned straight A’s five semesters in a row, or even 10. People would probably wonder what’s going on, right? Especially considering today’s news headlines. Are you cheating or are you just that good? One thing is for sure. No one is that lucky.

So, when we were awarded another 5-star badge for five 100% client satisfaction rated surveys in a row, we felt pretty good—we got another A! But it’s not the whole story. And by the way, we couldn’t cheat if we wanted to. GuildQuality, which is the third party research firm that conducts the surveys, publishes every single one on their site and ours—whether favorable or not.

In practical terms, these surveys are just like the report cards we all had to present to the parents. Well, some of us did. They come with comments, which give important context to the grade.

Actual GuildQuality survey comments

The important thing is this—while every high grade is wonderful for morale and marketing, the real win for us and our future clients are the survey comments that tell us what we need to improve. Because if we are not constantly improving, we are falling behind.

You can see these comments with every survey on our GuildQuality profile page—the good, the bad and the ugly. More importantly, you need to know we talk about those comments in our weekly production/design meetings and make operational changes. They do in fact, drive improvement and innovation at Murphy Bros.

So, if you ever get the chance to fill out one of our a GuildQuality surveys, please remember you are not only rewarding us for what we did well today, but also helping us be better tomorrow for everyone else—including potentially the next project we do for you, your family and friends.

Some surveys really do matter because they can actually make things better.

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