My wife, Kay, got a new cell phone this week from AT&T. I'm an iPhone user, so we're sort of stuck with AT&T for now. It's not that I'm an AT&T hater, like some others. I don't really have that much trouble with their service. But I do hate the fact that I don't really have a choice, if I want to use the iPhone. It's sort of like being in the American Airlines Frequent Prisoner Program.
Our salesperson, John, was a good guy and very helpful. Kay had some concerns about getting a phone that would be a good fit for her needs without going completely overboard with features and stuff she didn't want. John seemed to fill the bill. While Kelly and I busied ourselves playing with the other phones, he smartly guided Kay to a selection and then, like any good salesperson, managed to add several accessories to the sale.
As we headed for the door, John stopped us. "In a few days, you'll receive our customer satisfaction survey. Would there be any reason you would not rate my service a "5" out of "5" today?"
Like I said, John was very helpful. He did a good job and Kay was satisfied. We were also on our way to the Outback Steakhouse. Kelly and I had a Bloomin' Onion on the brain. We wanted to leave.
"No, no reason, John. We're very satisfied. We'll give you a '5.' "
But this picture is wrong on so many levels.
First, it completely irritates me that companies, like AT&T, set up a way to supposedly track how I felt about a purchase experience, and then allow their employees to game the system. By asking us the question, John played us into giving him the survey responses he needed. I'm sure most of his customers give the same response and then when the survey does arrive, they feel compelled, almost guilted, into doing what they promised to do.
Clearly, if AT&T wants to learn how to provide better customer service, this is not helping. C'mon, let's be real. On a 1-5 rating scale with 5 being highest, what should a "5" really mean? In my book it means the experience was off the charts…not just good…not just better than expected. It was unexpectedly great! It was WOW! In my book a "5" should be an experience I would share in keynote speeches and write a case study about. John was good, but not that good.
Maybe the whole "Satisfaction" Survey dealie is mislabeled. Were we satisfied? Yeah, sure we were. In fact, I would say we were more than satisfied. But did the experience make us LOYAL? Did it make us EVANGELISTS for AT&T? Uh, that would be NO.
You see, it's actually pretty easy to make me satisfied. Just meet my expectations. That makes me satisfied. And if you've spent time on any airline these days, like me, you know my expectations are pretty low, so it's easy!
But satisfied is not the same as loyal. Satisfied does not create word-of-mouth. Satisfied does not necessarily mean I'll be a repeat customer.
It would make a lot more sense if AT&T did a "Customer Loyalty Survey." Ask questions like:
- Were you ecstatic with our customer service?
- Will you absolutely buy from us again?
- Have you told others about the awesome customer experience you had
- Would you enthusiastically recommend us to your friends, family, and peers?
- Were you so happy, you actually thought about giving us more money?
Now THAT would be a survey I'd like to see.
I fully agree with you. I have taken many of these types of surveys and I seldom give them the highest mark across the board unless it was true.
Other than for advertisement, they are really use less.
Agreed. I’m frustrated by those surveys that are prepared to measure something other than what I’d like to give feedback on. For example – the survey will be on the Employee that assisted you, and the employee did a great job… So you give the employee high marks and you can’t wait to get to the question about the company or the product to give your low marks, only to find the survey is over… they think you are a happy customer because you were happy with the employee that helped you.
I recently bought a camera at a Local store instead of going to Costco or getting it online. I was so willing to buy the camera there after the employee showed me all the functions and how to use the camera… even some extra tips. When I left, he didn’t warn me of any survey… he said, “We aren’t just here to sell cameras, if you have questions in a week or two… or forget how to do something I showed you- stop in and see us. We’d love to help.” He actually went into a few examples of others that came back in with questions and problems… “don’t be embarrassed – we want you to love that camera.” I’m a huge fan – no survey needed.
I experienced poor customer service from Verizon and was looking forward to the survey. The poor in-store service at one of their locations gave the whole company a bad rating because I wasn’t able to narrow it down to the one location. Other than that, I’m tired of the surveys as well.
Employees of the phone companies are rewarded when their surveys come back 100% 5’s or when I worked at Verizon “excellent.” The survey is not really intended to be of benefit to the customer or the employee, but rather to the company as promotion and advertising fodder.
As the subject of Steve’s blog (Kay), I’d like to add, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
Today I called AT&T customer service with a question about my phone. I was, of course, greeted by a recording that asked me to enter my phone number and the last 4 digits of my SSN. “Not recognized,” it said, “Try again.” So I entered Steve’s SSN. It worked, and I was successfully transferred to the main menu, where I was instructed by a cheerful, recorded voice to push one of a series of options. That led me to another series of options…then another, none of which addressed my question. Frustrated, I pushed “O,” repeatedly, until the recording said “A customer service representative will be with you shortly.” It didn’t take too long after that for a representative to come on the line. She quickly answered my question. Then she said, “I’d like to ask you: Did I answer your question today to your satisfaction?”
“Yes…” I answered. “Now, is there a survey I can take to tell you whether I was satisfied with the time-consuming, impersonal, frustrating and unpleasant task of getting through to customer service?”
“Um, actually, no. Sorry. But thanks for calling AT&T.”