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Customer surveys are bad jokes

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Customer surveys are a joke when they are only meant to tick off a bunch of boxes. Here's an example of what I mean by this. A friend of mine received a call recently from a national hardware and department-store chain asking him to complete a survey on the recent repair of his air conditioner. There were two problems with this request. First, there was a service call (actually, it was three calls) on a dehumidifier and not an air conditioner and second, there was no human on the other end.

But he figured a call was a call, right? So he began to answer the questions. That was until it dawned upon him that if he answered the questions as asked, the repairman would be the one who would suffer. He would receive a dreadfully low score because of his unhappiness, which by the way wasn't his fault. He gave him all average scores on questions regarding his appearance, politeness, and general demeanor. But here's the thing. None of this matters because he still does not have a working dehumidifier in the basement and the company has absolutely no information that could help them improve their service.

You would think if the company was so concerned about their levels customer satisfaction, they would have a real person doing the calling, instead of an automated system. Then perhaps he could have provided this person with useful information.

If you are downright serious about your service levels, then I can suggest you do the following:

Empower your customer service people to make decisions. The company in question lost a valuable customer and perhaps many more through people who will hear about the experience. Had they rectified the situation quickly, he wouldn't even be having this conversation. We are talking about a $199 piece of warrentied equipment that could have easily been replaced.

Stop hiding behind your website. I would have personally contacted the CEO if I was able to locate his e-mail address on the website. I think it's intentionally hidden, which is a big mistake. Wouldn't you rather know about a problem so that you could fix it before it goes public?

Ask survey questions that matter. The only question that matters is how satisfied is your customer with the repair or the service they received. The company never asked him this question. They are obviously more concerned with the appearance of reps when in fact they should be more concerned with how the customer is actually feeling.

If you really don't want to know, don't ask. He honestly forgot how ticked off he was until he received the call this evening from an automated attendant. I now know why they say you should let sleeping dogs lie.

In this day and age, customers truly do have choices. You may think you are the only game in town, but all one has to do is go online and they can find dozens of providers in dozens of other towns. Now is the time to get serious about high levels of service. As for my pal, he's heading to the local hardware store, where at least there will be a human there who is willing to speak directly with customers.

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