A play for today

Act One

Doug is sat at his desk. He is telephoning Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check his Accounts Office Reference number, how exciting!

HMRC  “Hello this is Bert [names have been changed to protect the innocent] can I take you through security?”

Doug “Yes”

HMRC “What is your accounts office reference number?”

Doug “Ahh, well funny you should ask – that’s what I want to know. I am calling to check that I have that number recorded correctly.”

HMRC “I can’t give you that information over the phone”.

Doug “Why not please?”

HMRC “That’s not how we do it here.”

Doug “OK……so how about I tell you what I think my accounts office reference number is as part of the security questioning and if I pass security, I must’ve got it right?”

HMRC “What is your accounts office reference number?”

Doug “XYZ123blah”

HMRC “Company name?”

Doug “What Goes Around Limited.”

HMRC “Address”….etc etc


HMRC “right, you have passed security.”

And without another word, HMRC puts the phone down.

The end. (at least I hope it is…)

Tick the box – pointless surveys

What I am about to share with you has to be one of the most unimaginative and pointless surveys I’ve ever seen. And it’s real. Yes, real people have this inflicted on them (apart from one question I made up – can you spot it?). This survey was designed to measure internal customer satisfaction and every department had to send it to every other department and see how they rated. I can’t share the name of the company, I promised my source anonymity. She has since left and I’m not surprised. If this is any indication of how they work – I’d want out too.

OK then, get your pen out and tick these boxes:

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most satisfied please rate the following:

1 – staff were supportive of your needs

2 – staff responded effectively to your problems

3 – staff were helpful

4 – staff understood your needs

5 – staff delivered what they promised they would do

6 – staff contacted you when they said they would

7 – staff responded promptly when you contacted them

8 – staff advised on matters in an appropriate timescale

9 – overall processing times were reasonable

10 – I want to die – this survey is so painful it makes my eyes bleed and my head hurt

What an utterly disrespectful waste of your colleagues’ time eh? And some folks wonder why surveys have a bad name. Can you do better? Have you been asked a dumber set of questions than this?