When Customer Surveys Go Wrong

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
This weekend my husband and I bought a new car. The experience was pretty painless. However, what caught my attention was my salesman's parting words as we drove off the lot.

This weekend my husband and I bought a new car. The experience was pretty painless, though there were a few hiccups. However, what caught my attention was my salesman's parting words as we drove off the lot. He told us we would be getting a call from corporate asking us to rate our purchase experience. Then he played the guilt-trip card...if he didn't score all 10's on the survey he might get fired. So we need to be sure to score him a 10 on all the questions. Doesn't this fly in the face of what a survey should be?I'm sure the company wants to use the survey to gauge the customer experience, the effectiveness of the salesperson, and identify opportunities for improvement. Voice of the customer is so important. However, if the salesperson guilts his customers into scoring him all 10's, then the company does not learn anything, and nothing changes. I also have a feeling he doesn't get fired if he scores less than a 10. That would be a ridiculous personnel decision. He probably gets a bonus if he does score a 10.

This situation shows that the company is going about its survey strategy all wrong. The emphasis is put on the salesperson to show how great he is, instead of emphasizing the importance of gathering customer insight. Instead of incenting salespeople on individual performance, why not provide incentives to all in the dealership based on the overall experience? Or provide incentives for salespeople if their customers suggest an improvement? This would encourage employees to provide a great experience, and let customers feel free to participate in continuous improvement with their feedback.

Any company that conducts customer surveys should keep in mind that there is always room for improvement. That's the whole reason you should be conducting surveys in the first place. Learning what can be done better, as well as what customers may want out of the experience is much more valuable than a "10."

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EXPERT OPINION