This article is more than 1 year old

BOFH: When was the last time someone said these exact words to you: You are the sunshine of my life?

It's survey time in BOFH-land... and the dastardly duo are getting creative

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 2 So the PFY and I are in the Boss's office having sat through a 10-minute monologue on the importance of client surveys with a request that we come up with a way of reporting satisfaction levels to him by the time he rocks back from a half-hour meeting.

He's apparently just realised that reporting satisfaction levels could help his bonus prospects and is super-keen to get us doing his spadework for him.


"Yes?" the Head Beancounter asks, in response to our call from the Boss's phone.

"Hi, I was wondering if you had time to do a client survey?" the PFY asks.


"A client survey. It won't take more than five minutes to complete; it's just a set of multi-choice questions."

"Is there some reward or prize or something?" he asks.

"Sure," the PFY says, rifling around the Boss's desktop. "You will be in the draw to win a... iPhone... >scrabble< 11... uh... Pro."


"So this is a satisfaction survey for the systems team. You rang for service yesterday and we'd like to survey you."

"I rang you to tell you that you'd left a screwdriver on my desk."

"And how would you rate our response to your request?"

"It wasn't a request, I was just telling you that you left a screwdriver behind."

"And how would you rate our response – on a scale of Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon to Will Ferrell in Elf?"

"What does that even mean?"

"Crazy angry to ecstatic."

"I don't know, somewhere in the middle."

"So the teacher in Ferris Bueller's Day Off?"

"I don't know what that means."

"Moving on – and considering only the speed of resolution of your call – how would you rate your satisfaction with our speed on a scale of Core 2 Duo to Ryzen 3950x?"

"I don't know what that scale means."

"Slow or quick?"

"Reasonably quick. But it was only..."

"OK, I'm putting down i7 6700"

"I don't know what that means."

"Moving right along, if this request resolution were a coffee cup, what coffee cup would it be – on a scale of 1 being a square cup which leaks out the corners to 5 being a perfectly shaped double-walled spill-proof travel mug?."

"Again, I..."

"Was it a nightmare or did you get everything you wanted?"

"Somewhere in the middle I guess," our Head Beanie says, resigning himself to the process.

"OK, how quickly did you receive your first response – on a scale of Mr Magoo's driving to faster than a speeding bullet?"

"The middle," he says, forgoing the request for a translation as the will to live leaves him.

...10 minutes later...

"Now," the PFY says. "Based solely on your last experience, how likely is it that you would use our service again?"

"What, you mean if you leave a screwdriver in my office again?"

"... on a likelihood scale of the Moon landings were fake to the Sun will rise tomorrow morning?"


The Head Beancounter has not been exposed to any of the PFY's conspiracy theories in the past so he's not too sure how to answer that one.

"OK, thank you very much for your time," I say, hanging up before the PFY can launch into a discussion of Van Allen belts and flag fluttering.

"Well, I think that went well," the PFY says.

"Yes, but we've hardly created a body of data have we?" I reply.

"True," the PFY says.


"Yes?" the Head Beancounter says.

"Hi, I was wondering if you had time to do a client survey?" the PFY asks.

"We just did that."

"Yes, but that was about yesterday's call. I'm talking about the call we just had – again putting you in the draw for that iPhone."

... Six more calls and 25 minutes later...

"It seems," I say to the Boss when he returns, "that our clients have a fairly positive reaction to us, but that the more interaction we have with them the less satisfied they appear to be. It's as if surveys actually irritated people rather than made them feel like their needs were being heard."

"Still, though, I think there's value in listening to what users have to say. Did they have any suggestions?"

"The Head Beancounter suggested we never call him again. I think he may have ripped his phone out of the wall," the PFY says.

"And we're probably going to have to go up there and fix that later," I add. "And survey how he felt the fix went. Perhaps we should create a list of people that we don't consider to be surveyable clients?"

"What?" the Boss asks sarcastically. "And add the names of every dissatisfied person in the building?"

"I'm just suggesting that we make an exception in certain cases."

"If you interact with them, you should be surveying their opinion of the service they received. We can't just pick the people who give you positive survey responses."




"Yes?" the Boss says.

"Hi, I was wondering if you had time to do a client survey?" the PFY asks. "You could win an iPhone..."

"Your iPhone," I add.


More about

More about

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like