Hey, it's an email in your inbox from a business or media conglomerate asking your opinion! Finally, a chance for the consumer's voice to be heard! But why do I always end up regretting doing online surveys? Some suggestions for the surveyors:
1. Define your terms. You folks at DirecTV work know Hulu from Vudu from Roku from Boxee from Veoh. I don't. You know the differences between content delivery media technology and ad-supported on-demand streaming video. I don't. Give me arrow-hover or drill-down descriptions of the companies and services you want me to rate. And a "never heard of" option.
2. Tell me what's coming. "Now we're going to ask you to rate an aspect of our company you thought you already rated in a previous question because it was too vague and you didn't know we'd be going in this direction." How about some sort of survey road map in addition to that percentage-completed bar?
3. Don't change the terms. "On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being worst and 10 being best." "On a scale of 5 to 1, 1 meaning most likely and 5 meaning least likely." "On a scale of quark to flurb, quark meaning slightly less spectaculous and flurb connoting a higher degree of blobbyness." All in the same survey!
4. I've got maybe five minutes. "This survey will only take you twenty minutes to complete." Sorry, that's like a year of online time. Of course, I can be persuaded into lingering — kudos to Amazon for the $10 bribe.
5. No cheap tricks. Not online survey-related, but still relevant: hey Toshiba, don't make your CSR ask me to rate the quality of her service to her face. First, I need time to mentally process the call. And I contacted you to get my laptop fixed, not to tell some young woman eight thousand miles away she needs to work on her idiomatic English. Counting on the niceness of your customers to jack up ratings is dirty pool.