On July 2, I poked around Nielsen’s website trying to find a simple piece of information. Since I could not find it, I decided these Nielsen people were probably smart and had a website form for people to fill out when wanting to ask questions. They did have one. I filled it out. It contained the following information:

Six days later, I received the response:

Thank you for the response, Nielsen. And thank you for making sure to read and answer my question. I certainly understand with the influx of messages you must get and the holiday in between there may have been a lapse in response. It’s a good thing you don’t use auto-responder emails. Even if you would have responded right away, it would prove no one read the inquiry and wouldn’t help. So, I understand the lapse in response and am glad someone did, in fact, consider my inquiry and offer up the information requested.

Exactly 0.02 percent of me thinks Nielsen’s data is useful. But then again, that’s all the sample they need, right?

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • leslieajoy

    Wow. You would think if they were going to go the auto-responder route, they'd at least use something like “we are looking into your question.” How hard would that be for them? And at least it'd give some semblance of customer service.

  • http://richardrbecker.com/ Rich Becker

    Nielsen doesn't like to share that information. The truth of it would disgust you, so they decided why bother. I don't have the specifics, but I found this from a couple years ago when I was covering a television show cancellation. They haven't moved that much from this model.

    “There are currently two selection methods: geographic selection (area probability sampling) in the national sample and larger markets, and randomly-generated telephone numbers (Total Telephone Frame) in smaller markets. And the reality is, especially in smaller markets, only about 2 million people are filling in dairies during “sweeps.” (Oh, only about 25,000 meters exist.) So, in essence, what one family watches can influence about 22,000 viewing homes.”

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Sadly, I have had this same response in the past from companies that sell their research–guess I have just come to accept it. Every once in a while, they publish something to let us know they are still there. Their market is definitely not me or you. Too bad they don't just say that in their auto response. I'd rather get something like, “Because Nielsen's research is proprietary and the source of the company's income, we choose not to share particular pieces of research as a general rule. Please refer to the company's website (URL) for information on how to purchase Nielsen research.” You are right–they could do a much better job.

  • http://www.tsherwoodlaw.com loan modification Illinois

    I think I am a very good listener when it comes to listen to something that I have an interest in

  • http://twitter.com/eRocketFuel eRocketFuel CEO – JZ

    Jason: I think the concept is right. Ask. Expect a response. Sounds logical. And at the same time, sometimes it's a business decision that is not practical for a business to respond to each message. They just are not staffed for it. How would you solve this for them?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      They are staffed. The person who responded is a human whose
      responsibility it is to respond to inquiries. I recommend they have
      their customer service staff actually read and try to help rather than
      copy-pasting stock answers that don't answer.

      I only say this with some confidence because he has responded to my
      replies of “did you not even read my question” with more personal
      messages that don't answer the damn question.

  • http://themaria.me/ themaria

    Oh gawd, this made me cringe. They need a better tool to parse their emails and determine what the heck the emails are asking, and who in the organization is actually able to respond to these emails as they come in. It's not that hard — they can just hire Attensity to do that :)

    If you respond with a value-less response like that, why even bother responding? I wonder if they are monitoring their own name in blogs? Because if they did, they'd certainly see this :)

    - Maria Ogneva, Attensity
    @themaria

  • http://themaria.me/ themaria

    Oh gawd, this made me cringe. They need a better tool to parse their emails and determine what the heck the emails are asking, and who in the organization is actually able to respond to these emails as they come in. It's not that hard — they can just hire Attensity to do that :)

    If you respond with a value-less response like that, why even bother responding? I wonder if they are monitoring their own name in blogs? Because if they did, they'd certainly see this :)

    - Maria Ogneva, Attensity
    @themaria