Search Marketing

If You Didn’t Want My Opinion, You Shouldn’t Have Asked!

One of the great things about what I do is that it puts me in touch with other companies that I’ve previously worked with or for. Today I received a bit of news that was disappointing, though.

About a month ago, I spent a couple hours filling in a comprehensive survey that was sent to me from one of the companies I worked for and was now working to integrate and resell. I poured my heart into the company when I was there and still love their people and their products and services to this very day. However, the same reasons I left the company continued to pop up as we worked to resell the platform – bloated interface, lack of features, high cost, etc.

I flagged the survey invitation in my inbox to respond to the survey when I could dedicate the time. Later that night and the next morning, I spent a good hour or two answering the survey. With an open text area, I was direct and to the point in my criticisms. After all, as a reseller, improvement of their product was in my best interest. I didn’t pull any punches and was very up front on what I felt the core issues to be. I also brought up the talent that had left the company – they’d lost many good employees.

Though the survey was anonymous, I knew there were tracking identifiers on the submission process and my frank remarks could be easily identified by the company as my own. I wasn’t worried about any repercussions, they had asked my opinion and I wanted to offer it to them.

Through the grapevine today (there’s always a grapevine), I found that my remarks had reverberated through the company and that, in short, I was not welcome to work with the company to further any relationship.

The result, in my opinion, is short-sighted and immature. That no one reached out to me personally shows a lack of professionalism as well. Thankfully for me, there are a lot more service providers out on the market that can supply what I need for a lot less money and much easier to integrate. I was hoping to help my old company out by supplying some fresh, honest feedback.

If they didn’t want my opinion, I wish they had never asked. It would have saved me a few hours of my time and no one’s feelings would have been hurt. No worries, though. As they wish, I will do nothing to further any relationship with them.

10 Comments

  1. 1

    One thing worth pondering here is whether the news you heard is official or just rumor. Offices are horrible places for rumor mongering, it’s quite possible that the people reviewing your submission just flipped out and said some things they shouldn’t have, and somebody nearby heard them and took it as official policy. The rumor then got distorted and transformed from a simple case of listening in to something much worse.

    Of course that’s just speculation 🙂 It’s also possible that you are cut off from whatever company in question you are talking about.

    But I think the question I’d be asking myself at this point is – do I care? If you have sore feelings towards this company (which is sounds like you do in your post), then do you really want to keep working with them anyways?

    • 2

      Thanks for the great feedback, Christian. I definitely wouldn’t have posted had I had any doubts regarding it being rumor or fact. It’s, indeed, a fact.

      The lesson for any company is that, if you’re not prepared to get very negative feedback, don’t send out a survey that solicits it!

  2. 3
    • 4

      Ross, that may be the best comment ever. I suppose what I learned is that many companies only pledge allegiance to the dollar and not their employees nor their customers.

      I don’t own shares in the company and I owe them nothing, so I shouldn’t be taking this personally. I’ll get over it quick enough and find a company that does want to listen.

  3. 5

    I think the real problem is that the company doesn’t understand the value of getting some straight forward, hard-hitting feedback. As Doug said, if you’re not interested in hearing the good with the bad, then don’t ask someone that might be honest with you. If all you’re looking for is good, positive, warm, fuzzy feedback. Then hand-pick the customers/clients you want feedback from, call them up and ask “What do you like about us?” One question, that’s it, because in reality that’s all it sounds like you’re really interested in hearing anyway.

    Forget about the fact that you might have a customer that knows a little bit about the service you’re trying to sell and what it means to actually use its fullest capabilities. The customer you’re ignoring might be the one that’s intelligent enough to know what questions should be asked by all customers and aren’t because 95% of them don’t know anything other than what you tell them about your own service.

    If you don’t want to fix or improve what you’ve got and make it better, don’t waste our time. There’s plenty of other services like yours we can “monkey” around with instead.

  4. 6

    No matter how negative the feedback the company should be taking it as an opportunity for improvement. You gave them exactly what they asked for they should be happy to get it.

    If they feel it is unjustified, ignore the bad and work on the good.

    All in all it is pretty poor behavior to ask for an anonymous opinion and then hold it against you.

    Why would I alienate someone that is reselling my product?

  5. 7

    I think this brings up a bigger issue. Companies need to be careful in what they say about people who are extremely active in social media (like yourself). They need to treat bloggers the same way they would treat a journalist. If they’re soliciting your opinion, they need to either use it as constructive criticism or ignore it. The worst thing they could have done is to let it get posted in your blog that they treated you like that. It doesn’t reflect well upon them at all.

    • 8

      I suppose that’s true to some extent, Colin. I surely don’t want folks afraid of doing business with me in the event something bad happens and I might blog about it, though. As you notice above, I never actually mention who it is and I wouldn’t ever do that.

      Some of my closest friends work for businesses and I wouldn’t ever maliciously attempt to hurt their business – but I will continue to be honest when asked.

  6. 9

    Doug, I am very sorry to hear that this happened. I certainly appreciate your feedback. For what it is worth – your comments do matter and they are appreciated.

  7. 10

    Same is true when someone asks any question, ie “what’s the difference between Indy &. . . . ” A real question I was asked recently. I avoided the answer because I knew it might be offensive to the asker. However, when it was asked the 2nd time, I responded & sure enough. . . the asker found it “offensive”. Even though the answer was absolutely factual.

    If we don’t want to hear the answer – to any question – then don’t ask in the 1st place.

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