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Jay Dreyer :: Survey Complaints

Survey Complaints

I’ve got a new complaint to throw out there. Maybe you’ve run into this, too.

Lately companies have started rolling out satisfaction surveys after they perform a service for you. For example, when I take the Saab to the dealership, I get a survey. The company that moved us from Detroit to Minneapolis sent one out, as well.

I’m fine with this. It shows they are interested in how things went and are looking for feedback. I’m all for it.

What I’m not for, however, is that the company that sends the survey wants you to put the highest mark for every category. If not, they want you to call them so that they can resolve the issue and get you to give them the highest ranking.

What’s the point? I don’t feel like calling up the company and explaining why I gave them a “good” instead of an “excellent” for a question so I end up just checking “excellent” to be finished with the whole thing. Does this really help the company, however? I don’t think it does. I mean, they are turning a survey with 7 responses into a binary survey. Save me the effort and just make them “yes/no” questions if this is how it works.

My complaint is that this all seems like a waste of time to me. I don’t really like giving out the highest rating unless I feel like they really went out of their way or was impressed by their level of service. It doesn’t mean I’m upset with them or think they did a bad job. To me, the “good” ranking means I’m happy, but maybe they can come up with something in the future to improve service and make me extra-happy. If I just mark everything as “excellent”, is there any incentive for the company to innovate and improve? I don’t think so.

I know why this happens. Somebody at the top decides customer service is important so they mandate that anything less than an “excellent” ranking on a survey is bad. The group doing the service and sending out the survey tries to stay out of trouble by asking customers to fill out “excellent” for everything. Customers oblige because they don’t want to get into any discussions on the phone so they blindly check off the “excellent” box and send it off.

By doing this, companies are fooling themselves into thinking they’re doing a great job, when really, they might just be doing an average or good job. When they look at the monthly chart and everything comes up “excellent”, why should they bother to improve? They’re already great!


| posted 07/13/2006 05:08 PM

Permanent link to this comment  Eric A. Feldhake  on  07/15/2006 03:09 PM  said: 

Do you think these surveys might be used as promotional or advertising tools? I can imagine a company promoting: “in a recent survey (that only some small number of people bothered to complete) everyone surveyed indicated we are excellent.”

Do these surveys give you a space for comments? I would comment on the ridiculous expectation that someone would bother to keep the survey open until the Company has had a chance to have their “sins absolved”. I often write things in the open spaces on the surveys. However, I have never received a call or response to my comments.