Monday, October 29, 2007

Text your feedback .

I have noticed some signs on the windows of coaches operated by a nationwide company. The signs declare "Text your feedback ... with your comments about Driver, Comfort, Other, to 07786 200 496".

There seems to be a culture developing in this country about citizens becoming roving reporters being urged to phone or text a special number. This trend is developing in a vast range of services and the above is just an example of this growing trend. It seems as though the providers of these services are not going out into the field to monitor their performance but wish to get the public to do this task for them. Rather than pay for quality control or investigation they are getting the public to do it for free. However, the data provided by these special telephone numbers is unrepresentative of the service actually provided to the public. It is simply a snitchers charter where the caller can air their gripes.

This telephone approach is far better than the old alternative to budget quality control where users are urged to complete a paper questionnaire that claims "Everyone is unique... so tell us what you think". These questionnaires try to obtain the users name and address, nationality, marital status, date of birth, householder status and years at that address - the very items users should never give because of the growing risk of identity fraud in our country. These questionnaires are generally discarded onto the floor increasing the litter problem in our daily lives. It is rather silly that some managers are complaining about a lack of response to these paper questionnaires when users can so easily text their feedback, a far easier exercise without any privacy risks.

The naive would think that these telephone numbers would encourage praise and positive feedback from users but their main purpose is to collate all the negative comments so that a witch hunt can start. Happy Hallowe'en everyone, get those league tables ready.
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