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Should you use surveys, mailers, etc. to get customer responses

This question is quite a complicated one. It takes into consideration, or should take into consideration, many things. What do we mean exactly when we say surveys, mailers, etc.? Are we talking about telemarketing, stuffing people's mailboxes with junk mail, stuffing their email accounts with spam, and so forth? If the answer's Yes, simultaneously it's No. You shouldn't use surveys, mailers, etc. to get customer responses. If it annoys you to get a phone call about tanning beds in the middle of dinner, it'll annoy someone else. If it annoys you to have to winnow out a few valuable items of mail from a heap of stuff you don't need, it'll annoy someone else. If it annoys you to open your email account and see advertisements for hair replacement products, virile potions, fitness magazines, online pharmacies, or whatever, you can count on the next guy being irritated too.
That said, let's consider a few ways in which surveys, mailers etc. could be quite handy in getting customer responses; more importantly, let's consider how to conduct surveys, mailers etc. in a manner that doesn't offend and enrage.
1. We've talked about stuffed mailboxes, email accounts,

1. We've talked about stuffed mailboxes, email accounts, wildly ringing telephones, and so forth. We've talked about what irritates you and what's sure to irritate other people as well. So, right off the bat you've got a fine list of what not to do. It's a negative start, for sure, but a start's a start. First impressions matter as much as your mother always told you they did. You don't want your potential customer's first impression of your company to be anything close to-"I want to injure these people who are plaguing me when I'm trying to enjoy honey glazed ham with my beloved family." So, what do you do?
2. Well, if you're committed to phone surveys, set some standards for yourself. Set the standards that you'd like to see other companies setting when it comes to your convenience and privacy. It may seem as though flooding as many homes with as many calls as possible will net you a lot of fish, but research shows that that's one assumption that's blatantly false. One well timed, well said phone call can net you a big floppy silver-scaled fish for life, whereas a hundred badly timed, badly said phone calls can mean a host of ravenous sharks circling your boat come nightfall.
3. The same idea applies to mailers. If you want to send them (and it's a proper thing to want, considering that mailers are an effective way of finding new customers and keeping in touch with old ones), send them the way you want them sent to you. It's the principle of one note being struck repeatedly on the piano. It may be a harmless note, quite harmless, it may be a beautiful note, the most beautiful of all the notes, but if repeated plink-plink-plink it quickly becomes a irritant that must be abolished at all costs. You don't want to jam your potential customer's mailboxes with paper. You don't want to jam your potential customer's email account with spam. People are pretty sensitive about the environment these days, and when it comes to email the issue is one of privacy. Your email account is yours. It's how you communicate with family, friends, enemies, business associates. When a company thrusts its red, sweaty face into that sacred place, all you want to do is make a fist and punch it.
4. If that's true, if surveys, mailers, and so forth are that annoying, if they're that bothersome, if they bring on headaches that quickly, why are they worth trying at all? Fact is, you really don't have a lot of other options. Mailers, surveys, etc., are still highly effective ways of obtaining and keeping customers, and they probably will be for some time to come. This means that rather than abstaining from these methods you abstain from whatever parts of the methods most people find most maddening.

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