We’re tired, just plain tired, of our opinions being asked.

For the first, oh, dozen times or so, it’s ego-satisfying to learn someone wants to hear what we think.  And when the asker combines it with an incentive, boy, we’re so there.  Who wouldn’t want a free bagel or a dozen from Einstein, or the chance to win $$ in a retail splurge spree?  Or a coupla dozen thousand miles on an airline?

In the last year or two, we’ve stopped responding.  To be completely transparent, the incentives aren’t there anymore.   [We’re simply not interested in entering a drawing for another high-caloric treat when, really, the establishment just wants to get a fix on our personal data.  Now that’s another story.  For another blog.]

The real truth, though, is that today, every time we stop in a grocery store, shop online, or get something fixed, a survey’s awaiting.  And many don’t take “no” for an answer.  We’ve been bombarded online, then via robocalls and finally land lines, for instance, from car dealerships … ironic when we already told the salesperson we weren’t interested in a “special” service.  When that happens, we hang up, and not so politely say “no.”  In a different language. 

More than a few gurus have cautioned about survey fatigue, resulting in a lower response rate and weakening the value of the questionnaire.  Others talk about respecting our time, sending clear invitations, keeping it brief, and responding to our complaints.

Yet couldn’t another underlying cause of “please sir/madame, no more” be the type of survey selected?  Usually, researchers hit us in our technological homes, from emails and online requests to mobile and social media touchpoints.    It’s hard not to speed up survey responses when we’re faced with multiple choices to a question, checking, often blindly, whatever hits us at the moment.  Or whatever sounds good.

Here’s a novel thought:  Why not talk with us, either on the phone or in person, one to one or in a small group?  For those watching an hourly clock, it’s definitely more time-consuming and expensive – the actual process as well as the analysis and reporting.  But aren’t we worth it?