Companies, we customers know you want our post-purchase feedback. We know your stores, hotels, salespeople, and customer service agents receive recognition and rewards when customer satisfaction survey scores are high. We used to be surprised when the waiter handed us the receipt for our credit card payment, circled the URL for the post-cheesecake satisfaction survey, and turned big puppy-dog eyes to us, saying “If you’ve been happy with my service this evening, I’d really appreciate it if you’d complete a brief online survey.”
Today, requests for survey feedback are very common at the point of purchase or immediately after we receive service. We’re not surprised by these surveys anymore. Recently, though, I was surprised and unhappy about a post-purchase survey request I received from FedEx Office. On February 5, when I paid for my copies in the store, the woman who helped me politely asked me to complete an online survey. She circled the survey URL on the paper receipt she handed me. While she had given me good service, I did not complete the survey. I just didn’t feel like it. I’m pretty sure that 95% of customers make the same choice I made that day.
A week later, I received this survey request email from FedEx Office:
This whole experience seems too close for comfort. Here’s why:
- I didn’t fill out the survey because I don’t want to fill out the survey. It’s not an accident. Reminding me won’t make me want to do it.
- I didn’t tell FedEx Office I was staying at the Hyatt, so how do they know? This is really creeping me out. I try to ignore Big Data, and I don’t like to be reminded that companies can automatically compare my billing address to the store address and conclude, correctly, that I am a visitor not a resident.
- I didn’t explicitly give FedEx permission to email me this way. Yes, I’ve got a FedEx account and I did place my order for the copies online, so FedEx Office has my email address. I do expect FedEx Office to send me order confirmations and receipts via email. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if FedEx Office emailed me a survey request for services I’d purchased online. But when I’ve purchased something in the store, I expect the survey request to happen there, if at all. Just because you have my email address, doesn’t mean you should use it at will.
- I simply can’t figure out “What’s in it for me?” I guess it would be somewhat OK if FedEx Office stalked my inbox to offer me something, but this isn’t an offer. The only one who gains when I complete the survey is FedEx Office.
What do you think about this practice? Do you react the same way I did? Let me know by email or in the comments, below.
P.S. You know I can’t end a blog post without commenting on (picking on?!) the writing:
- Spelling. It may be just a typo, but “preformed” is unfortunate. Sometimes, spell check just can’t save you.
- Subject line. I hope FedEx Office has tested the “Thank You” subject line, and that they have hard data that it causes more opens and survey responses than an explicit subject line like “Please complete our survey.” I find the “Thank You” subject line deceptive.
- Glib corporate customer-service-speak. If you just don’t think about it, the sentence “I sincerely hope we performed above your expectations” kinda-sorta makes sense. But if you do think about it, the sentence — and the concept — crumbles. Why does FedEx Office have to hope it did more than I expected? Isn’t it enough to just do what the customer wanted and paid for?
Update: FedEx Office’s reply to my tweet about this post
While I certainly appreciate the fact that FedEx Office noted that I had tweeted their handle, this tweet from “Lizzie” — who must be a robot of some type — isn’t an example of high-touch customer service!