I’ll keep this blog shorter than the phone call that it’s about…
My phone rings with a number I don’t recognise, but I’m between two meetings with managers at my biggest client, so I take the call.
“Good morning Mr Slater. My name is Susan from xxx and I’m calling on behalf of the xxx Bank (my bank). Could you spare one or two minutes for a survey we’re conducting on behalf of the bank?”
ME: “Provided it IS only a couple of minutes, yes”
“Absolutely and I’ll talk faster and make sure it’s less!”
And off we go…and go…and…go…
According to my phone, I finally said good bye to Susan SEVEN minutes and 46 seconds later!
All of this palaver was because I had used their automatic deposit machine to deposit a cheque from a client. (I know – who uses cheques anymore? But, hey, it’s still legal currency and I’m not about to complain!)
I resolved to answer the questions as quickly, honestly and without query as I could.
Most involved me answering on a scale of 1-10 – you know the drill, right? And some asked for specific answers.
Such as “Which branch’s auto-teller did you visit?” “Did you deposit cash or cheques?” and “Was this the first time you had used an auto-teller at the xxx Bank?”
ALL of which I would have thought, the bank would already know – so why waste my time asking?
A significant number of the questions, whilst not identical, were so similar as to make no differential sense whatsoever and, to be honest, by the end, I was just giving numbers without thinking (or caring!)
Which begs the obvious question – what, exactly, is the value or the validity of the answers they get? I would suggest not very much!
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to ask Susan these questions because, after almost eight minutes on the phone, my next meeting was waiting for me.
A five minute call that stretches to seven+ is forgivable. But “one or two” minutes that makes it to almost eight – that’s just a lie!
Now I fully accept that if Susan had asked me for eight minutes of my time then I, and I suspect an awful lot of people, would have said “no”. And I also accept that this in turn would make the researcher’s job much harder. But that is THEIR problem – not mine!
Either be honest about how long this will take OR reduce the number of questions so that you can get at least close to the agreed time.
Then, and ONLY then, will the answers you get be both valid and valuable!
Keeping it honest!