A Really BIG Customer Satisfaction Survey No-No

by Martha Brooke on September 28, 2016

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Our company recently began working with a website optimization service. As the introductory phone call drew to a close, our new account manager asked me to take a customer satisfaction survey—and told me, “That’s how I get paid.”

This was useless, awkward, and inappropriate. It showed that what I had to say didn’t really matter. Plus, this was my account manager—there’s no way I’d give him a poor rating that might sour our weekly phone calls.

This entire approach to customer satisfaction surveys ran counter to Interaction Thinking™ because it overlooked how interactions can create value for the company and customer alike. The company could have gotten accurate data (we’ll get to that in a minute), and the customer could have had a great onboarding experience, unencumbered by feelings of obligation or guilt.

Furthermore, the survey was painfully generic. For example, one question was the ubiquitous Net Promoter Score (NPS): “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” Not only is NPS so overused that many customers are numb to it—it’s often just irrelevant. Who would I recommend my account manager to? Most of us don’t discuss niche web services with friends. The rest of the questions were equally trite and focused on broad outcomes, not specific nuances.

By the way, if this had been a tech support call, linking employee pay to survey ratings could favor quick fixes that might seem right at first—but don’t fully resolve the issue, and leave customers calling back a week later.

Now, about that data: unfortunately, this company’s survey only gathered selective, biased feedback and inaccurate customer experience metrics. It revealed no valuable insights about the actual quality of the customer experience, or how to improve.

If companies want to master the customer experience to build customer loyalty, they need satisfaction surveys that collect accurate, valuable customer experience metrics—while never sacrificing positive, worthwhile experiences for customers.