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Another stupid, poorly-worded survey - dorsetgirl
May 8th, 2014
10:59 am
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Another stupid, poorly-worded survey
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I've worked in Market Research departments of large food manufacturers and in general it's a degree-level job requiring - amongst other things - clear thinking and good writing skills. The majority of surveys I see at Valued Opinions are so stupid and ambiguous that I wish the people writing them worked for me so I could sack them. This is what I put in the feedback form for the latest one:

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"I do most of my grocery shopping in stores". Nope, I’m British, and we do our shopping in SHOPS not stores. "Stores" is quite a different thing.

You asked me to rate the overall customer service I receive - in a list of shops I’ve said I never use. And there’s no option to say "I wouldn’t know because I never use this shop."

Then you asked me to comment on prices. How am I supposed to know the prices in five shops I HAVE ALREADY TOLD YOU I NEVER USE?

I don’t even know what "prices I can trust" means. A price has no personality or agency so it cannot do anything to be trustworthy or otherwise. Do you mean can I trust the price to not change between the shelf and the checkout? I don’t think that’s about trusting the price, it’s about trusting the retailer.

The same applies to "special offers I can trust".

How am I supposed to know about the range available in shops I HAVE ALREADY TOLD YOU I NEVER USE?

Describing the budget own brand - this question is ambiguous as to whether you are asking about the number of products available or the quality of the products.

Rating each retailer in terms of importance to me - another ambiguous question. Do you mean for food and groceries, or for their entire range of products? It makes a huge difference to the answer for Marks & Spencer and Amazon.

How am I supposed to know how well each retailer meets all its customers’ needs? I have no idea who their customers are and what their needs might be, so it is impossible for me to judge. And why would you even want to know what my wild guess is? You would get more truthful results if you had a "Don’t Know" box.

I don’t believe any retailer is "on its customers’ side" - by definition they are obviously on THEIR side not ours. They would go bankrupt in five minutes if they were "on our side" rather than their own. But that’s not the same as thinking they are "against" us!

At some point this questionnaire seems to have moved from "food and grocery" to "anything you might use them for" but that point was never explicitly stated. I have therefore assumed that you mean "anything" unless "food and grocery" is stated.

I have no way of knowing how shops treat everyone else! So how can I judge whether they treat everyone the same or not? This questionnaire is ridiculous.

I don’t understand the question asking me how I would rate each supermarket on its reputation. You seem to be asking me whether I think it is excellent or poor that Aldi, M&S etc have whatever reputation they have. But I don’t actually know what reputation they have!

The only scale that would make sense here is "I consider the reputation well-deserved" to "I consider the reputation not deserved". But even that makes no sense unless you specify whether you mean their reputation amongst customers, staff, the stock market, financial analysts, environmental activists, suppliers, competitors etc. This survey is so woolly-minded I don’t think anyone should be basing any business decisions on the results.

I got kicked out of another survey for counting a 19-year-old as a "child". This survey explicitly includes 19-year-olds as children and I would be very interested to know on what basis it has been decided that 19-year-olds are children for this survey.

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If only there were some chance these people would actually read my feedback and act on it...

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