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Thursday, 18 March 2010


I had a call from Nielsen Research last Sunday, calling on behalf of Auckland City Council. Why bug me on a Sunday? And why hire a research company at great expense? Is the Council not capable of using a telephone itself?

Nielsen wanted to know how the Council had responded to my complaint. 'Which complaint?' I asked. They did not know. Much later I realised that it was one I had made last year. So why did it take so long, at great expense, to get another organisation to ask that question?

The researcher read a blurb that said something along the lines of, 'The Council wants to make sure it is delivering the best service, so it is important to it to find out what you think of it.' I laughed. 'Everyone laughs when I read that bit,' she said.

If Auckland City was genuinely concerned to know how its staff handled your complaint, it would get them to ask you at the time, and would record your response for playing back to a senior manager. That would be instant feedback where it counts, at virtually no expense. Nielsen records its conversation with you many months later, but at great expense. The delay is so long that you will probably have probably forgotten the details, or even what it was all about, as I had, and the researcher will not know, so cannot jog your memory, because she has not been told. Bad management, at great expense.

So the result of the call was zilch. Zero. Nothing. Except for what went into Nielsen's pocket--out of the pockets of ratepayers.