Tell us how we’re doing

It’s been two months since we got back from our big retirement trip – 100 days door to door.

What an amazing experience that was! It’s taken quite a while to come down from the high peaks of our global adventure and something of a struggle to settle down into our new life. Still happening, in fact.

We’ll be republishing our blog in a shorter form, in chronological order and with some handy hints gleaned from our adventures for other retirees planning a big overseas “trip-of-a-lifetime”.

We will publish that soon.

Meanwhile, as we look around us for distraction from global events, we’ve noticed what appears to be a growing phenomenon – the almost daily request from all sorts to TELL US HOW WE’RE DOING.

For us it’s getting to be a problem – so we’ve called it PMD, or….

PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT DISORDER

More and more companies and organisations are asking us to spend time telling them how they’re doing, either by survey, answering questions on the phone or giving feedback on our experience.

Why is this happening?

Is it a symptom of today’s social media driven world? The narcissistic twirling in front of the mirror, wanting to know that you’re as wonderful as you think you are (and ignoring the criticisms)? A shallow gesture towards self-improvement.

Does it reflect a world in which everyone’s opinion matters?

Or could it be an obsession with performance measurement – a derivative of the HR phenomenon ?

In practical terms, it’s outsourcing to the customer a job that used to be done by consumer survey companies to: A) get you to do the job for free, B) cut costs, C) get more immediate feedback.

And because it’s ‘free’ (to them), all sorts of organisations are jumping onto the bandwagon. It’s going viral. Just about any service you use – even if only the once, immediately results in them sending you a request to tell them how they’re doing.

The problem for us consumers is that all these surveys and requests for feedback demand our time – for which there is no payment or reward. The occasional enticement of ‘winners’ getting a voucher or discount doesn’t cut it. How many people do you know who’ve actually won anything? And of course, it relies on a flattering lie – that we’re important and so are our opinions. If they are that important – then pay for them. Try asking for payment next time you’re approached to do a survey or answer a few questions, they hang up very quickly.

In the end – do we see any benefit for our input. Do those companies and organisations seeking our opinion really collate the information and take notice or make changes? They’re more likely to change or respond if you make a personal complaint when they fail. Otherwise you’re just a random statistic.

The problem for those asking for our feedback is that it’s statistically dubious – what kinds of people have the time or inclination to respond?  Are they the people companies and organisations should be listening to? Are they a true cross section of consumers, an accurate representation of their client base? If not – what’s the point?

Perhaps none of that matters – and it is just a case of ticking a box to satisfy HR and the ubiquitous Mission Statement.

If it is 21st Century narcissism – the ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall – who is the fairest of them all’ obsession with self, then that’s a sad reflection on modern society.

Whatever the reason, they should just focus on providing a good service and stop wasting our time and theirs.

Oh – and don’t forget to tell us how we’re doing with our blog.  Thanks!

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