The customer experience surveys that are a menace!

Part one

For my birthday, a member of my family bought me an Ordinance Survey app which allows me to see where I’m walking O/S style. Lovely present, lovely thought.

When it came to downloading the app, I was told to input a number to unlock the service. There were many numbers on the documents I was given, I tried them all.  none unlocked the app. One of the numbers was a helpline to Ordinance Survey, but I always got an office closed reminder.

I asked my partner, I asked the donor, nobody could help. I finally got through to customer services, a nice bloke – but he couldn’t help at all – he just told me there was another number I had to find.

Finally, I accidentally scratched off a bit of a yellow panel on a card I’d been sent. Like an archaeologist, I continued scratching and like a happy archaeologist, a secret number was revealed. The app was downloaded and I was away – out on the Isle of Dogs – plotting my progress – using contours, spying landmarks – it was like orienteering without the Silva compass!

Part two

Since downloading the app ( two weeks ago) , I have had an email every day from O/S trying to sell me more of their goods. For the past three days  I got a request to fill out a survey on their customer experience. Today I got my final reminder…


My final reminder!

It came from Alex Alderson, their customer contact service manager (to whom there is “no reply”). Just what the consequences are for not responding to the final reminder  are still not clear but I took notice alright.

Part three

Fearing the finality of the mail, I decided to participate.  I explained what had happened.

The customer desk was usually closed and when I got through- it was hard to explain my issue. It came down to me not understanding that the unique number I needed to download the app was behind a scratch card. This had never occurred to me and we only discovered that this is how we got the app to work by accident. Nobody at OS mentioned this – perhaps because it seemed too obvious. But it wasn’t obvious to us!

And then I was asked if I would allow someone at O/S to follow up on this. Short of blocking O/S, I don’t see any chance they won’t! Albeit it will be Mr No-reply at work.

Customer experience emails are a menace.

When you have a bad customer experience, it can be sorted by customer care. It cannot be sorted by a customer experience email, The questionnaire wanted to know who else I shopped with and how O/S compared, it wanted to have my phone number as well as the email it already had (again). In short I now feel thoroughly fed up with an organisation that for 60 years has been my map!

I can only think that Ordinance Survey have put the marketing of their products in the hands of a robot as there is no empathy here at all. Mr No Reply (aka Alex Alderson), if you get to read this, you are not doing your job. You are alienating a customer and I suspect I’m not the only one.


How many of these mails do you get – and how do you feel about them?


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to The customer experience surveys that are a menace!

  1. con Keating says:

    I was tidying up a friend’s affairs (after his death) when he received an email from the NHS – a customer satisfaction survey. I really should have completed it for him.

  2. John Mather says:

    It seems that like the “warranty” is given on a car to do development testing rather then getting the service right first time These wrongly labelled benefits e.g. “Client Service” ” Care in the Community” ” Brexit” saving poor people from the” tyranny of the BBC licence fee” are at best aspirational and share a common lack of thought or substance. In 2017 I had a clients who complained about a SIPP provider who insisted on sending his 21 year old son marketing ,material and benefit statements. Totally ignoring the discussions we were having with the SIPP provider about the son who had committed suicide a year earlier.

  3. John Moret says:

    The key to getting customer feedback is actually doing something when you receive it. Too many organisations go through the motions with customer surveys – getting an average, mid-table, score that they see as acceptable and justifies them to carry on doing what they’ve always done. Successful organisations don’t just solicit feedback they act upon it identifying trends and root causes and adapting solutions to meet the needs of their customers to retain them, increase their loyalty and enhance their lifetime value. It will be interesting to see how the FCA’s new “consumer duty” regime changes the behaviour of regulated businesses.

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