I have an opinion on everything. Just ask me, I love to share my wisdom, pontificate, lecture, tell you where you’re going wrong.
I am a member of half a dozen survey panels for august organisations with unblemished reputations, also a major bank.
I’m getting hammered with surveys at the moment. Most of these are along the lines ‘despite the fact you won’t be able to fly anywhere for months due to COVID, if we tied a pretty pink ribbon on this stinker of an offer, you’d really like to blow your frequent flyer points on it, wouldn’t you?’, or ‘sure the interest rates on your deposits are laughably tiny while we rake in gobsmacking profits, but you’d totally support this new way to squeeze a few more coppers out of your wallet, wouldn’t you?’
More fun yet are the emails that go: ’you used our service once a few minutes ago, please take this brief survey to help us improve our services’. You click on the link and there’s one question ‘how wonderful are we?’ With a range of options to select and a box to tell them why you gave that rating which has a function that won’t let you escape until you’ve filled it in.
Here’s a tip, if you type anything in the box — the single letter ‘y’ for instance — it thinks you’ve given an answer. Don’t tell them I told you!
I studied marketing at university for a while when my career ambitions pointed that way so I have some academic insight into the psychology of customer surveys.
Half a dozen lectures and a thick tome were summarised perfectly, I think, in the 1970s documentary Yes, Prime Minister. Some think Yes, Prime Minister was a comedy. Don’t be fooled, it was an exposé! Here’s the clip.
The condensed version goes something like this:
The party has done an opinion survey which shows support for a return of national service. The civil service mandarin, Sir Humphrey, explains to the prime minister’s secretary, Bernard, (Played by the wonderful Derek Fowlds) that they’ll simply do their own survey showing people oppose national service.
“But people can’t favour national Service and oppose it at the same time,” says Bernard.
“Of course they can,” says Sir Humphrey. “It’s all in the way you ask the question. Are you concerned about the lack of discipline in our youth?”
“Would you agree that young people yearn for authority and direction?”
“Do you support a return of national service?”
“Oh. Yes, I suppose I do.”
“Are you concerned about the growth in armaments and the prospect of war?”
“Should the youth of Britain be armed and trained to kill?’
“Are you in favour of National Service?”
“Certainly not! Oh, I see what you mean.”
The same applies, in reverse, to the opinions I offer, wouldn’t you say?
I like to think my carefully considered input is given weight by the sincere folk in the marketing department. ’Are you kidding? No way am I giving you any more of my cash! Do you think I was born yesterday?’
Corporations do surveys for a reason, of course. It wasn’t in my marketing course, but I know. It’s got nothing to do with improving products and everything to do with subtly brainwashing you to buy more.
I could do that.
So, ah-hem, **cough**, as a valued reader of T.J. Beach books, your feedback would help enormously in our efforts to constantly improve. Please take the short survey below.** One lucky respondent will have the chance to win a million dollars! ***
How good are the books written by T.J. Beach?
1. Absolutely brilliant.
2. Better than Nora Roberts and J.K. Rowling combined.
3. The best stuff ever written in the history of the world.
How much would you be prepared to pay for T.J.’s next book?
1. Four hundred bucks.
2. What if I sold my new Mercedes and used all the proceeds?
3. I’d gladly give you all my worldly goods and my first born child.
Just how wonderful are T.J.’s books? (feel free to write as much praise as you like) 🙂
Enter your responses in the comments below.
Oh, there’s a bit of small print:
** By responding to this survey you give me the right to brag about your answers anywhere I want.
*** I’ll buy a lottery ticket. Hey, it might win.
I should have the analysis report ready about the time I get Gun-shy onto the market. It shouldn’t be long now.
I’m also editing Meet Me Where the Surf Breaks and I’ll get onto the final draft of Second Guerrilla: M5M sometime soon.
With all that editing, I haven’t been writing many new scenes. I can’t decide what to start next; another romance-mystery, the second episode of Gun-shy or the third part of the Guerrilla series.
Which would you prefer? You can put those answers in the comments below, as well. 🙂
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