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Poor surveys are time wasters…

I’m busy, you’re busy and I suspect even people (including Government employees) writing surveys are busy.

So why do people put up silly surveys and waste everyone’s time?

clock in waste paper bin

Throwing time away…

Late last week I was asked to fill in a survey Government-run gathering information to help small businesses – a worthy cause so I completed the survey.

But some of the questions were a waste of time – not only were they hard to answer, I doubt they will give meaningful results so it has wasted everyone’s time.

Poor survey question samples

Here are some of the worst questions I answered, with my comments to explain why I didn’t like these particular questions.

Q1 – is your website interactive? Can you edit it yourself (eg online forms, content)?
A1 – yes or no

What is the correct answer if my site is interactive but I can’t edit it, or if I can edit it but it isn’t interactive?

Q2 do you use a still or video camera for work purposes?
A2 – Yes – what do you use it for?

Um, for taking photos or videos? I wonder how many people gave that answer! I decided to be nice to them and answered ‘take photos for use in my blog’

 Q3. who is your local IT service company in a, b and c?

Personally I had no idea! And what did they mean by local anyway – same suburb, same city, same state?
The question perhaps makes more sense if you assume they want to know who I used for those services or maybe they were trying to ask ‘do you use a local IT service company for a, b or c’.

Q4. how do you get business advice and information?
A4 – rate each option in the following list {which includes trade magazines, state gov department website, dept of broadband, communication & digital economy}

The list did not include professional advice (accountant, coach, etc), online articles/blogs or government business info sites which were the first three things I thought of! Yet it included such specific things as a government department site and the dept of broadband, etc which I have never heard of!
When giving answers, it is important to review the list to ensure it covers enough breadth – or change the question to indicate it is a narrow aspect being researched.

Q5. do you or any of your staff telework? (work from home connecting to the business network and database)

How do I answer that – I work from a home office so I am nearly always connecting to the business from home but I don’t think it is really telework when the network is also at home!
Do they want me to include sub-contractors/suppliers as staff or keep ‘staff’ to mean employees?

Maybe this post will compensate for the wasted time as at least we can all learn what not to do in our next survey or feedback form!

My strong recommendation is to always get an outside person to read a survey when you think it is finished because they will spot errors in logic, assumptions and inconsistencies better than you can.

What are your survey stories? Have you found they are harder to write than they appear? Or maybe you’ve come across some time-wasting questions like these ones. I’d love to hear them – although it would be nice to think most surveys are well done!

 

Train the child’s flesh

Clear writing is important for getting your message across, and often to help you make sales.

A poor message won’t attract as many sales nor earn respect or trust so it is worth getting help if you struggle writing clearly.

As a very clear example of this, I wanted to share the information on the back of a jigsaw puzzle box aimed at 3 year olds.

Give parents’ word:

In childhood there are per 80, the  growth of human’s brain. At period the learning and attraction is  most strongest in a life. So the parents pay attention to train your children.

Clever is not inborn, it’s gestated in the circumstance of growth. If the parents can choose more toys, that it can guide their hand and brain with together. Not only it trains their dexterity hands in the iteration, but also coordination function their brain, eyes and hands, It will breed a clever, health child.

Introduction of function:

Play the  number train, it can train acquaintance and memory to color, material and English word, and enhance recognition to sight and total concept.

Play the number train, Must according to the order of the number, Then patch a intact number train, So it can advance the growth of child’s flesh and raising the custom of hand.

child's toy trainOn the positive side, if it was web content, the word train was a good choice – it both represents the image on the jigsaw and the idea of training or teaching so is a great keyword for them.

Beyond that, I’m struggling to find much positive about this example of writing! Although to be fair everything is spelt correctly! I’m not going to list all the errors, either, as it would become a very long post if I tried, lol.

Obviously English is their second language but if you’re selling to English markets it is worth getting someone who truly knows English to check your work first.

Luckily, I didn’t need any instructions to do a jigsaw but imagine if I had needed their instructions…

Business lessons from the gym

As long as you are willing to look, there are business lessons to be learned from many places. A local gym club has unfortunately provided numerous examples of how to alienate members.

image source: 123rf.com

So here are some of their mistakes that we can learn from:

  • send out quarterly invoices at seemingly random times and vary the means of delivery (snail mail or via staff to members)
  • never answer the phone and wait for at least 3 messages before returning any calls
  • ask for a deposit for the following year then question why members pay that much less in the first invoice of the year – either admit it is an extra fee or understand that a deposit is deducted from the main invoice
  • don’t answer emails
  • if you do answer emails (and it’s taken over two years for this to happen in our case) do not put your name at the end of the email, just use a signature with the club name and address
  • give out dates of major events (like the end of year performance) via wall posters 2 weeks beforehand – notices, emails and advance notice are overrated, surely?
  • claim to leave multiple messages, but not speak to member when at the club each week, as justification for not communicating important information. If nothing else, maybe it was worth checking if the correct phone number was being used (as no messages were ever received by us)

I have heard people praise the location and facilities but only ever criticise the organisation itself. It is a pity to see people travel further than necessary because they want a basic level of customer service.

Of course, that is the key lesson from all the mistakes above – provide customer service and make things easier for customers.

How much poor or mediocre service will you put up with? Are there situations where it bothers you more than others?