Thank You For Your Opinion, But No Thanks

A peeve about how many people ask for your opinion, but not many people act on it.

Typewriter - Dear Manager

This post was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Work.

“Thank you for your opinion.”

I hear that a lot of times, both from people telling it directly to me, and from people telling me about them hearing it from others. Some companies love saying that since they love hearing suggestions and acting upon them. Other companies loving saying such a sentence because that is their only response to a suggestion, whether or not the suggestion is a good one.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for your opinion. You can say these things to a person who you want to ignore. You can also tell that to a person whose opinion you really hate. It is a workplace necessity to say that sentence now: “Thank you for your opinion.”

You Have a Suggestion? Thank You For Your Time/Opinion!

Bes has a suggestion on how to improve customer service? “Thank you for your opinion”, and 3 years later, customer service has gone down even more.

You have a suggestion on how to improve trust among co-workers? “Thank you for your opinion”, and a year later, co-workers still do not share their work with each other more often and completely, causing the project to take almost a year just to reach 50% completion, when it was supposed to be finished within 6 months.

“Thank you for your time”; you hear that when you make an appointment to meet the human resources manager in order to notify the company about some unethical practices you may have noticed at the company. You hear the same exact thing when you let businesses like many restaurants and shopping stores know on how to improve their services. Many companies are depending on that sentence concept alone to communicate with people; “Thank you for your time” or “Thank you for your opinion” is the only communication you will receive from many companies.

Companies Rarely Implement Your Ideas and Suggestions

Why? Because many companies simply do not care. When was the last time your suggestion at a department store was put into action? When was the last time your suggestions to the post office was put into action? No, each time you just received a “Thank you for your opinion” greeting and response, since according to company executives, not every opinion and suggestion can be put into practice.

It is completely normal to put every suggestion by an executive into practice. I don’t want a coffee maker to show me time. I want it to make coffee and coffee alone, even though I don’t drink coffee. I don’t want a company to buy off other irrelevant companies for billions of dollars simply because they have a lot of cash, only to end up raising the price for the actual product that I use from them while not increasing the value of the product at all.

I don’t want my cell phone to have a 3 megapixel camera; I prefer it having a longer battery life and not losing reception in normal, full-coverage areas. I don’t want my instant messenger to add fancy smilies; I prefer the company to work on making the thing more stable and have more people sign up, so I can find more friends and contacts on it.

Wow, You Want Changes, Changes, and More Changes. You Probably Want Changes in Changes About Changes Within Changes, Don’t You?

Yes, I want a lot of changes in things and I have to change myself to get anything, including changes, that is why I try to suggest things to companies which I think are actually capable of listening. Sometimes I am wrong, and sometimes I have to wait. Of course, I am assuming that anything like my coffee machine, my car, my Internet account, my camera, and my products, are mine at all. I hope my assumptions aren’t wrong, which I know they are.

The “Tell us what you think” is Simply an Illusion to Keep You Satisfied

For many companies, your suggestions will be implemented if they bring in more money for the company, or if those suggestions go along with what the company executives want. I smile at people who feel appreciated because of being given the “Tell us what you think” cards. It’s so easy to manipulate and make you happy, isn’t it?

Bes Zain spends his time cruising the streets of Berkeley for squirrels and reason. He currently writes for The Reasoner and the Reader Appreciation Project.

2 thoughts on “Thank You For Your Opinion, But No Thanks”

  1. Bes,

    I remember you telling me about the USPS and how they simply said "Thanks" but don't really have any intention of implementing it. What you can possibly do in future proposals is make the suggestion and tell them why it will make them more money and improve customer satisfaction. Companies are also interested in saving money, but it has to be a significant figure in order to be taken seriously.

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