For the most part, many retailers are participating in some sort of customer feedback program. This can range from a dedicated website for a customer to answer questions related to their purchase to a suggestion box on the checkout counter at a fast lube. Although the range of soliciting customer feedback is wide; it’s very clear that information relating to a customers purchase and thoughts about the retailer can help to improve the overall business operation. What happens when the feedback is forced and in a manner in which the only answer provided is the highest ranking answer? Here is a real example of what my wife and I experienced when we purchased a new vehicle less than 1 year ago.
The process for purchasing the vehicle was no different than past experiences – we did our research, contacted a few dealerships, negotiated a price and signed the deal. When we picked up the vehicle and were walked through the features we were reminded by the customer experience manager and the sales person to fill out the customer satisfaction survey. The key to this request was “Make sure you give us perfect and if you are unable to please let us know how we can fix your concern prior to the survey”. Hang on a second, this dealership also claimed the highest overall satisfaction scores nationally within their brand. Does this mean, that the #1 score they attained was a result of “fixing”? In the end, I filled out the customer satisfaction score honestly and gave the dealership good scores but not a perfect.
This experience is not uncommon since I have heard similar stories from other new car purchasers. In the end, as a consumer this has left me feeling that a #1 customer satisfaction ranking by any retailer needs to be scrutinized to truly understand what metics were being rated and what influence the retailer had on the outcome. If you want to increase customer satisfaction levels and do it consistently it begins with talking with your customers and having an overall strategy on what great customer service will look like. I also believe that a customer satisfaction survey has its place in understanding satisfaction levels but it should not be the only one.
Written by Ronald Rameshnauth