September 23rd, 2009 by Jared Bothwell
Customer satisfaction surveys are a great way to find out how you are performing in the eyes of your customers. With the benefits of customer surveys generally well understood, many organisations have employed market research companies to undertake the work for them while some opt for the DIY option.
I imagine the DIY option is generally chosen because of the associated cost savings. I mean, why pay someone when you can do it yourself? That’s why I mow my own lawns, it’s not because I love lawn-mowing, it’s because I prefer not to pay someone else when I can do it myself (not to mention the degree of discomfort I feel when watching TV while having the lawn-mowing man sweating outside – dam you lawn-mowing man for making me feel guilty!). Yet, there are sometimes when the professional touch is required, something which my experience below demonstrates.
My daughter has attended swimming lessons at the local swimming pool for a number of years. The instructors at the pool are fantastic and overall we are happy with the lessons she receives. Re-booking lessons is another matter altogether and dealing with the office staff to secure a place in the next terms lessons is never a straight forward process.
My wife was delighted then when she was approached by a pool staff member to fill in a self completed questionnaire form on how she finds the customer experience at the pool. She dutifully completed the form with her feedback which was then collected by the pool staff member. What happened next is where it went all horribly wrong.
The pool staff member read through my wife’s feedback and once you had read through the completed survey started viciously interrogating her on why she was not happy with the service from the office staff when re-booking (it so happens that she is a member of the office staff). As you can imagine my wife felt well and truly put on the spot and stated that she did not wish to discuss her feedback with the staff member.
So, while the idea was sound – surveying your customers really is a good idea. Where the process fell over in this instance was in the execution of the survey. Enabling your customers to give anonymous feedback is really, really important. Feel free to let customers indicate if they would like to discuss any issues further – this is a good idea.
Staff members that have a direct interest in the results of any survey should not be involved in the data collection from customers. The possibility of emotions running strong is just too great a risk and can turn what should be a positive experience for customers into a a rotten one.