Archive for November, 2010

Another corporate example of tokenism

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

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Do you ever wonder why companies bother?  Have you ever seen an example of an idea or initiative and wondered how on earth someone has signed that off and what conceivable benefit they are receiving from it?

Well… my latest sinking feeling came courtesy of British Gas.

I signed up to one of their tariffs a while back and have online bills to save pennies, paper and the like.  An example of doing my bit.  So that’s been doing it’s thing for a while, bills come, payments go out, online information provided of usage… job done, all tickety boo. 

Then I made a cardinal mistake and installed an energy efficient boiler.  Gas usage has dropped substantially and the payments haven’t followed suit.  So you know where this is going don’t you?


I highlighted this to them a few months ago and instead of a 20-30% reduction as was required, a 7% reduction was offered, offset by increasing electricity payments for the fun of it!  Hmm…. unimpressed.

So after another month or two passed and the credit grew from modest to sizeable, I repeated the exercise and contacted them to get the amounts reduced.

Now I know we all have niggles with utilities who like to stock pile our cash and not give it back too readily… but the thing that really wrankled was this.

Having received an e-mail response that was unhelpful and almost intimated I’d be lucky if the payments weren’t increased in the next few month anyway, there it was, tucked away as a tiny little link.  Different coloured text.  Underlined.  “Survey”

Being a survey company I just couldn’t resist.

The first question (of 5)…. please rate your overall satisfaction with our e-mail response between 1 and 5.  Well I thought a 0 more befitting actually.  Has the e-mail answered all your points?  Also 1-5 (wouldn’t yes or no suffice?)

Chuck in, was it easy to understand, did we treat you as an individual, and finally…. the sinking feeling question…. how likely are you to refer us???

Erm not at all going by the fact I’m writing a blog entry about how naff you are by wanting to keep my money and not reduce the payments.  Then send me a token survey that you don’t care about the answers to and finally…. by secretly embedding my personal details into the invite (copying and pasting is a wonderful thing!) and not giving me the option to maintain my anonymity.

So British Gas…. if you’re going to do a survey, do it properly.  Ask proper questions, keep it away from your sales people so you don’t try and flog me something and protect my identity so I can really let rip and be truthful.

Otherwise…. don’t bother or pretend to be interested in your customers views.

And the saddest thing…. so many corporates think this is a good survey and is an acceptable way to build customer relations.  So many companies to spread our word to, so little time!