Survey overload: Are consumers fed up with all the surveys they're asked to take?

POSTED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 12:04pm

Are consumers getting fed up with all the surveys they are asked to take?

Whether you're buying a hamburger, a hammer or a pair of socks, you are probably going to be asked to go to a website and fill out a questionnaire.

Some say they are suffering from survey overload.

'There might be a fatigue with it as well,' said shopper Robin Franck. 'I mean there might be a point to which people are going to just say, no more.'

But that hasn't happened yet.

In fact Eric Tunquist with Jack in the Box says they get survey results every 25 seconds.

That's more than a million surveys every year.

'There is a lot that guests want to say to us,' says Tunquist, 'We want to be sure we're listening to what's on their minds.'

So on the bottom of every receipt, Jack in the Box customers are invited to fill out an online questionnaire.

As an incentive, they can enter to win up to $10,000.

Tunquist says those surveys also help the fast food giant to get to the bottom of customer complaints.

'If a guest were to complete a survey right now,' said Tunquist, 'within an hour to an hour and a half, the restaurant manager, the district manager, the franchise owner would all have an alert in their email system if there was a problem during the visit.'

Jack in the Box started the online surveys seven years ago, today those online invitations are on nearly every retail receipt.

'It's a little bit irritating,' said shopper Adeline Massa.

'Consumer have to start filtering,' said San Diego State marketing professor Heather Honea, 'because the mental overload is just too overwhelming.'

Honea says the information is critical to good marketing but admits there is survey overload in the retail world.

There is also a concern about online privacy.

To win the drawing offered by many retailers you often have to give your name, phone number and email address.

Amber Yoo with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says marketing firms are able to collect more and more information about their customers.

'The tendency with companies is that they think that data collection is good and the more data you have the better,' said Yoo.

In California, by law, a survey asking for personal information must also include a privacy policy on the home page.

But with survey frustration growing, Jack in the Box is still getting 50 to 60 responses every month from every Jack in the Box restaurant.

That's about the same as when they started the program seven years ago.

And those shoppers still have a lot to say.

'I'd say more gripes than positive,' said Eric Tunquist with Jack in the Box. 'But all in all we get a pretty good balance.'

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