Some time ago we made a significant purchase. For purposes of this post, the product or service in question is irrelevant. It could be a phone, it could be a vehicle, it could be a major appliance, or a stay in a hotel, or some kind of streaming service, or a political contribution. The item makes no difference, because it is the experience surrounding the expenditure that is the point — and the experience is, unfortunately, pretty much the same no matter what you spend your money on these days.
In virtually every case, you’ve got to make the decision on whether to give your email address and get the app that is specific to the purchased item. These choices raise key decision points for the consumer: do you give out your email address, knowing that you are losing control of an important bit of your personal privacy, and do you clutter your phone with apps that may give rise to unwanted beeps and buzzes and messages clogging your primary communications device? I try to be judicious about this judgment call, and think about what I might really want and need as a result of each particular purchase. If I think I may need to get an important message — like a product recall alert, or a warranty issue, or a service call — I’ll grudgingly give up the information. Otherwise, I politely decline.
But when you do give up that information, the upshot is as predictable as an overnight Trump Twitter storm — you’re going to be getting surveys. And in the modern world it won’t be just one survey; now, you’re likely to get a survey as soon as you make the purchase, and then get additional survey requests in the future, even if you’ve faithfully filled out the initial survey. The survey bombardment is relentless. Each survey request promises that it will take “only” a few minutes, but it’s pretty clear from the questions that what the survey is really seeking is not customer satisfaction information about the specific product or service you’ve just bought, but rather information about you and your personal preferences and perceptions and lifestyle, so that the seller of the item can better market things to you in the future.
I hate this reality of modern life. The survey onslaught really irritates me, and also negatively affects my perception of the product. It’s obvious that the seller that sends the survey doesn’t place much value on my time and also thinks I must be a sap, besides, if I’m going to gladly divulge personal information that enriches them and provides me with no benefit. Maybe sellers with surveys are like email scammers — they know most rational people will just delete the message, but if they get just one sap to participate they’ve received a significant benefit at minimal cost. I routinely delete the survey requests, and spend a few seconds steaming about the arrogance of the sender.
Do sellers understand how people like me react to surveys, or do they just not care?