July 2023 Newsletter Article
Some of you may remember Richard Dawson. Dawson was an actor and a comedian. He was well known for playing the character Corporal Peter Newkirk on the long running television sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes” that originally aired in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and still can be seen in reruns to this day.
Dawson became even more well known as the first host of the popular television gameshow “Family Feud”. On this show, families are pitted against each other in hopes of correctly guessing what a survey of 100 people answered for a variety of questions. It’s a fun concept that has resulted in years of episodes being produced. Dawson’s time as the host of the show ended in 1995 and now a different comedian, Steve Harvey, is the host of the show; but the format is largely the same as it has been from the beginning.
The Family Feud surveys people for fun, and often, the results of their surveys are indeed funny. And while surveys can be fun, there are also a lot of more serious survey topics that people are asked to respond to on a very regular basis. These topics are broad and varied and often are seeking information about your feelings on political issues, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, brand awareness, post event feedback, etc. The sheer number of survey requests can become a bit overwhelming.
The method of surveying has, like many things in society, evolved over time. Most surveys I experience are distributed via email. Sometimes you see them on social media sites. But the old-fashioned methods of phone calls and mailed surveys are still around too. All these surveys must exist for a reason, right? I mean, I’m quite certain that I’m not the only one who has “survey fatigue”.
Many organizations have at least figured out that surveys get a better result when they are a.) well thought out, b.) simple to complete, and c.) short (not too time consuming). It is also worth noting that, while there are bad actors, many surveys come from very reputable businesses and organizations, well-run entities with smart people at the helm.
So, if smart people know that survey fatigue exists, why do they continue to conduct them. The short answer is because the information they collect is valuable. Companies want to know if the goods and services they provide are well received. This information helps to inform business decisions. Did their staff treat you well? Did the product you purchased meet your expectations, etc.? Governments ask questions for similar reasons (i.e., are their policies working).
Surveys allow consumers a certain degree of power in how products, services, and policies evolve. If you have opinions and you want to be heard, participating in surveys are a great way to help steer the ship…assuming enough people hold similar views.
Richard Dawson passed away in June 2012. However, if he was still around, I’m sure he would agree that some surveys are worth the investment of time to complete. The Chamber will continue to promote surveys that help raise awareness of local businesses and help the community. In fact, I can already imagine myself at a future Board of Directors meeting, raising my voice, and saying “Survey Says!”