the call is coming from inside the town

​One item that was pulled at Tuesday’s General Committee but referred to the June 24th meeting was item #12 – Town of Aurora Resident Survey, report CAO14-012.

It has to do with the following staff recomendation:

THAT Council approve funding of $30,000 to proceed with Capital Project No. 12024 – Resident Survey.

So staff is recommending that council approve a $30,000 spend on unsolicited telephone calls as the ideal way to gather resident feedback.

Feedback that apparently directly relates to the implementation of the town’s Strategic Plan.

So the town spent thousands of $ on the strategic plan, boasted it would be a living document but can’t gauge its measure of satisfaction without harassing residents through phone calls?

Yeah that’s sustainability for you.

WTF?

It also suggests that feedback will be collected with regards to service levels.

Another WTF?

The town just conducted a service level review at another cost of $ thousands. Are they now questioning the findings of that review?

Leaving aside the flawed logic behind proceeding with this at all, let’s try to understand the proposed method.

On page 2 it reads:

According to the information presented by Forum Research, staff believe that a telephone survey (live or automated) would best achieve the Town’s requirements.

Really?

This is the same Forum Research which 2 days before the recent Provincial election conducted an interactive voice-response phone calls, similar to what they are proposing here.

Forum surveyed 739 people across Ontario with results considered accurate to within four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

That means the Liberals and the Conservatives were considered in a statistical dead heat with the Grits potentially as low as 38 per cent and the Tories as high as 39 per cent.

In this Toronto Star article: http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario_election/2014/06/10/poll_liberals_take_lead_over_tories.html Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff cautioned that the findings are within the poll’s margin of error so the race could be tighter, and was quoted “It’s a very close election, but I would have to give a slight edge to the Liberals,”

There is so much wrong with Forum Research’s credibility in the world of polling they may as well have faxed the Town of Aurora a bag of flaming poo to attach to this staff report instead of what is attached on pg 4 & 5.

The 3 common polling methodologies used in the lead up to the Provincial election being live interview phone calls, interactive voice response calls and online panel are explained and contrasted in this Toronto Star piece here:
http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/06/15/polling_the_electorate_three_different_ways_with_differing_results.html

I don’t buy into any argument suggesting the preference of polling by phone, and here’s just a couple reasons why.

The rapid disappearance of land lines skews who’s available to get polled.

If the town is looking to proceed with polling that targets cellphones and 99 % of cell phone users get free caller id in their contract why would anyone chose to receive a call from an unknown number?

Even if contact is made what would compel anyone to waist time chatting to a pollster that is gleaning information and creating a profile for your phone number to sell out and send to other caller lists?

And lastly, town staff even includes the following caveat:

When considering automated options, there is some concern that the approach is impersonal and could be potentially viewed as bothersome by some residents. However, automated calls do offer some cost savings.

To rephrase, the Town of Aurora knows full well that calling you will piss you off, but automated calls is obviously the only way in which we can provide residents with such a high level of service.

This is a $30,000 spend that the town is poised to spend over and above having several full-time staff committed to strategic initiatives, customer service and communications.

The end result of which is summed up in this Dilbert strip:


The town’s efforts this term with regard to communication and engagement have been dreadful, throwing telemarketing into the mix isn’t going to reverse course.

The town has touch-points in several communications channels including social media yet due to an absence of clear policy and leadership hasn’t figured out how to leverage any of them.

Hey! Town of Aurora.

Your hang-ups are many and they are noticeable.

In case you are unaware it’s 2014 not 1984.

There is something called a National Do Not Call registry and it’s there for a reason.

Instead of harassing Aurorans why not make even the slightest attempt to communicate with us in a way that is respectful to both of us not just in a way that is convenient for you?

Is it because you have no idea how?

If you don’t then you better enjoy the dulcet tones of your new best friend: dial-tone

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