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Paradigm Shifts on Good Surveys and Raffles

By author Morgan Jassen

This blog post is off-topic (off of Tech Support, and off of "Stretching, investing, and working. Mingling.", even). Ok, maybe it is about "working", becasue it is work to take a suvey and to follow up and find the results.

But in any case I've been thinking abut this, on and off, across the months.

Here's a story: I called credit card customer service and was offered to take a survey at the end. At the end, it offered me the survey and then paused. I thought for a second, and couldn't make up my mind. Before I made up my mind, I don't know how long but I think it was between 5 and 10 seconds, the phone hung up on me.

I sat holding my phone to my ear on a dead phone line. What a fool I felt! I wanted to be mad at the survey for offering me to take it and then hanging up on me, but there was nobody to be mad at! (but myself)

What's the point of this story?

I guess the first one is that I should be more decisive about the little things. It turns out the automated system -- the computer -- wasn't wasting my time-- I was wasting its time!

But my other point is that it's just an anecdote to me thinking more about surveys. And this story adds a human emotion and feeling to this thinking.

My current conclusion is that I think surveys and raffles should promise to publish the results, and then follow through and publish the results.

I usually avoid surveys and raffles as not good, and as a waste of my time.

Why? Well, one big element of it is that I feel like I am putting my feedback into a black hole.

However, sometimes I do want to help the researchers behind the survey, so they can get data to be able to learn what they need to know.

Here's the thing -- if the survey people would promise to publish the detailed results, and then follow through and publish them as promised, then that would go a long way with me. If I am going to take between 2 to 10 minutes to answer a survey, then why wouldn't I want to see the results of the survey?

I suppose it depends on what type of survey too though. What if the data they want to track includes how many people refused the survey, and is truly independent of the surveyees wanting or being able to see the results.

But I digress -- most surveys, it seems, care about what their caring customers think.

One last note is that I also don't know whether most surveys offer this already. 

What I do know is that most surveys don't offer it in the same sentence -- in the same breath -- where they are offering me to take the survey. But maybe in the second sentence, especially if I asked them or if I read the details, then they would offer me who to talk with afterwards to find the survey results data.

Therefore I'll end with a pledge -- the next ten surveys I take, I'm going to ask the survey adminstrator -- "How do I find the survey data results after the survey?". 

It's been 7 months since I wrote the draft that turned out to be the blog post above. Since then, I've been offered a few surveys and raffles, and, I've participated in a few. I have actually asked most of them, at the time when I'm trying to decide whether or not to take the survey, whether (and where/how) or not I will be able to see the results afterwards. Here are some things I've found.

- For one, I took the survey and wrote an email back where I could find the results. I never heard back.

- For one, it actually did have a clear note at the bottom of the survey, that told that the results would be available, and where/how they would be available.

- For one, I was already filling out the survey, and hadn't yet seen any note of if/how I'd be able to see the survey results. So in this case I actually included a note in an/the 'Other/comments' section *within* the survey, asking if/how I would be able to see the results. The results was that I didn't hear back a reply on it.

- For one, I wrote a public message and asked how to see the results. I never heard back directly. Then about a week later the results came out posted publicly, but I only saw it because I had written myself a calendar reminder -- I had to be the one remember to check back, and I had to be the one to check back, to the message thread, to see it.

- For one -- I was the raffle winner. (yay, me!?) And in this case, I was notified by a direct message. 

What is a summary of my overall thoughts after this point? It is that, in general, surveys and raffles usually only directly message you back if you were the winner of the raffle. Other than that, sometimes there will be a note published about where the results will be found. Other than that, and this being the most common scenario in my informal experience, is that if I want to know the results of the raffle/survey, then I need to be the one to check back and actively inquire, and seek out the results. 

One further note is that, after having paid more attention to these types of scenarios, is that personally, after this research, I'm going to be sure to not waste as much time as before spending time taking surveys not important to me, or looking for survey results of surveys not important to me. Because it can be a huge time suck. So from now on, I'll likely only be replying to surveys or raffles where I care about the outcome, and, where I know from the start exactly exists/how/where to find the results of the survey!

[2017-08-01 Update: Fixed a typo in blog post title.]
[2019-03-11 edit: Moved to: https://investorworker.com/2017/... .html.]