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For Some Consumers, Surveys Breed Feedback Fatigue


NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ We appreciate your decision to read this story. Would you take a short survey about your satisfaction with the reading experience? Could you review this article on a website? Rate it for other readers?

As inboxes fill with requests to appraise holiday purchases and trips, it's prime time for feedback fatigue.

With emailed appeals for comments on commonplace transactions and customer-service calls that beget requests to take a survey, consumers are being pinged for opinions at a rate that has gotten some publicly grousing about a surfeit of surveys.

One such lament spawned dozens of responses on a frequent fliers forum last year. Some Gmail users complained about recurring bids to react to a change in the email service's look this fall, prompting owner Google to curtail the requests. Comedian Bill Maher dinged the feedback frenzy in a video for The Huffington Post in 2010, telling a nameless company, "I was actually pretty happy with your customer service, up to the point where you asked me to take a survey about your customer service."

Surely, it's nice to be courted for input, at least sometimes. But some consumers say they're fed up with giving time-consuming feedback for free, don't like being drawn into a data web used to evaluate employees or feel companies don't act on the advice they get. Others say they simply don't have anything revelatory to impart about, say, ordering a shirt or buying a package of pens.

"I resent the assumption that I'm interested in helping this company beyond making a purchase. Giving them your money is enough," says Travis Van, 34. He blogged about the issue in June on the website of ITDatabase, a San Francisco-based service he founded for technology companies seeking media contacts.

While market-research polls have been conducted for decades, customer-satisfaction surveys have proliferated in recent years because of technology, a growing emphasis on getting data to shape decisions and measure results, and a drive to hold onto customers in a difficult economy, experts say.

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