Your feedback matters: but does it?, asks David Clayton
PUBLISHED: 11:57 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:57 05 September 2018
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David Clayton wishes hotels and doctor's surgeries would stop asking if he enjoyed his experience
I went to the doctor’s the other day, or to be more accurate, to see one of the nurses who took my blood pressure for a routine check-up. I also had the dilemma of taking in a urine sample in a plastic bottle. I’m not sure what the protocol is here. I didn’t want to sit holding it in the waiting room for all to see but was slightly nervous of having it in my pocket. I rather envy you ladies with a handbag option. I guessed I wouldn’t be the only person taking in something personal in liquid form, but to be honest I’ve never seen patients in animated conversation comparing their samples before, entertaining though that might be. In the end I settled for carefully placing the container, as near upright, in my pocket as a sitting down position would allow.
But I digress, the local surgery, which I’ve used for nigh on forty years, has never let me down. Warm, friendly and caring. Nothing is too much trouble. Goodness, one of the doctors (now retired) delivered one of our children at home. As my personal “front end” of the NHS, I’m genuinely blessed.
I was reminded of my appointment by a text which makes life much easier, but it also texts me afterwards as to whether I’d recommend the surgery to a friend and might I have any suggestions to make my visit even better? I’d run out of superlatives, but am flattered to be asked, albeit electronically.
My lovely local doctor’s surgery aside, are you, like me, just getting a little weary of surveys, however well meaning? I have a coping strategy for the spurious phone calls purporting to be consumer surveys. I now say I’d be delighted to answer their questions, to their surprise and delight, but then say, when asked, “No, I won’t confirm my address!” This, I’ve discovered, completely negates the process. That response isn’t in their known script and they unceremoniously hang up. Result! Please do try this with my blessing. Bask in a moment of smug satisfaction, I know I do.
If I buy something on-line, there’s the inevitable follow up e-mail to evaluate my experience. This, I think, forces an over-analysis of the simple transaction. I selected something, I pressed “Pay” and it turned up in the post. What more can I say? Hotels love a survey too. I stay in them when travelling around the country for my work and they all want an answer to, “How did we do?” Sometimes this is a follow-up e-mail with the lure of winning a weekend stay (I never have) and sometimes this is in paper form waiting on the bed as I arrive rather suggesting I should be walking round the hotel with a clipboard, ticking-off a check-list.
Look, here’s what I’d prefer. If it’s really brilliant, I’ll tell you on the day. I might even be minded to bash off an e-mail to someone in authority. If it’s terrible, I’ll tell you on the day. I might even be minded to bash off an e-mail to someone in authority. If it’s OK, I’ll get in, get out and get home.
I’m trying to work out where all this has come from. Clearly, we didn’t need this sort of deep analysis of customer attitudes before, did we? Someone (in authority) kept a watchful eye over the standards and divined a sense of how the business was doing from, I guess, the sort of feedback someone in authority would get from keeping his or her eyes open and a proverbial ear to the ground.
I’d have finished this article sooner but honestly, just now a survey from a train company I used three months ago has landed in my Inbox and I could win £500 worth of something or other. See what I mean!