DEAR MISS MANNERS: It seems as if any time I have contact with a business, they want me to fill out a survey about my experience. This is a trend that really irritates me.
I call my bank to ask which branch I should go to for a particular service, and a week later I get a letter and a two-page survey form to fill out. I place an order with a mail-order catalog and get an email asking me to fill out a survey about my customer experience, followed up (after the order has been delivered) with another email asking how I liked the product.
I can, of course, ignore such requests (and often do), but sometimes that gets me a follow-up letter or email complaining that I haven't responded! Sometimes I get follow-up phone calls! Even Miss Manners probably cannot prevent companies from this practice, but don't they violate some tenet of business etiquette?
GENTLE READER: Yes, they are violating the first rule of business: Don't annoy the customer.
Sadly, Miss Manners realizes that they are doing this with the opposite intention. But if someone, even a friend, followed you around pleading, "Do you like me? Do you really, really like me? How can I make you like me more?" you would be tempted to slap him.
As businesses are aware, the consumer now has ways of voicing dissatisfaction to the world. Heading this off by catching problems immediately, or perhaps by allowing the customer to vent to the point of exhaustion, is good business. But then, so is knowing when to stop.
In addition to ignoring these requests, you should ask not to be contacted except in connection with your order, and you should withhold your telephone number.