Friday afternoon my wife and I stopped into our local Wells Fargo branch to figure out why her ATM card wasn’t working. We had a ten-minute conversation with a nice staffer, solved the problem and went on our way.
Tonight the phone rang at about 9PM: it was a nice young woman from Gallup “calling for Wells Fargo” to interview me about my recent experience at the branch. This has become a plague, and the bank’s rudeness and arrogance in doing this is so astonishing that I’m not sure about the motivation. Just to be clear: the bank and I have a deal about services and payment that in no way includes my providing free management consulting at a time of the bank’s choosing: the survey would have taken about as long as I had already committed to the ATM card problem.
I have done survey research and taken the time of customers (in that case museum visitors) and I understand there’s some irreducible imposition; I usually reply to political surveys if I don’t read them as push polls or tendentious. At the museum, we were careful to make a fuss about how grateful we were for the respondents’ time, and gave them a couple of free admission passes as at least a gesture recognizing their cost. Some of these irritating follow-up surveys enter you in a lottery with unknown odds for some sort of prize, and some are online so you can do them when convenient. But calling a customer at home in the evening is really over the top.
Perhaps this is some idiot’s idea of making the customer think the bank cares how he feels. If they get anything useful from these surveys, it’s profitable for the bank, and they pay their staff, Gallup, and everyone else a share of the gains: what this little exercise made me feel, as so often happens when we interact with people selling us stuff, is that the bank thinks my time is worthless to me (or, I guess, that I find it amusing or useful to respond to one of these surveys). They are wrong, and I hope a wave of resistance to this spreading imposition develops. I can assure anyone reading this that the result of the bank’s lame marketing idea was to turn a perfectly satisfactory commercial encounter into a disagreeable one that I will remember with distaste, and of course I didn’t answer their questions either.