Surveys, are they satisfying?

There is an excellent post at the blog modern marketing today. I agree that the word ‘satisfied’ is not a very good description when you are talking about “experience” being your differentiator.

I thought about some surveys so here is a list of 5 choices on a survey and what a person really means when asked:

How has the service been when dealing with the credit union?

  1. Great – which usually means – I don’t want to tell you the truth or offend you.
  2. Normal – which usually means – Why are you asking me this? Do I get to win something if I say it’s better?
  3. OK – which usually means – I put up with you guys but boy if I found a better place I am out of here.
  4. Not very good – which usually means – This place sucks! I don’t know why I am still here, probably because my mom opened an account here when I was 3.
  5. Bad – which usually means – I am a disgruntled ex-employee and want to make you guys pay or I am getting paid for some competitive intelligence from the guy down the street.

The Filene Report Denise mentions is excellent and is a great starting point in measuring the Net Promoter Score which is the benchmark we all should be paying attention to. At the end of the report it talks about the next steps for improving member experience. You can spend a lot of time measuring, you can view and chart the results but what are you going to do to improve? One suggestion is that any effective strategic plan will require “Leadership practices that instill customer focus, passion, and values.” Voila! A key ingredient. Leadership.

So in large part bad service can easily mean bad leadership. Not paying attention to something that is hard to measure in any realm. But instilling customer focus and passion and values? That doesn’t happen overnight. Leadership needs to create the ability of the people working in the organization to what I call “make meaning” in their workplace. The environment must be right. Values statements are a long and arduous process. Values are discussed, debated, argued. Values must in some way be part of the individuals own personal make up. (You’ve arrived when you can say to everyone that when they make any decision that is true to these values they have always made the right decision). And when you do arrive at a common, published values statement made up from all individuals, there is a commonality that as a consequence begins the passion. When someone can make some meaning in their job they are quick to become passionate. Now, how do you measure passion?

Author: tinfoiling


2 thoughts on “Surveys, are they satisfying?

  1. Hi Gene –
    I’m fascinated (as you’ve probably noticed from earlier postings) with the Canadian interest and trust in customer surveys and questionnaires. The US has developed a nearly automatic dismissal of those techniques as a valid measure of anything, and I’m beginning to think that it’s one of the major cultural fault-lines between US and Canadian culture.

    I’ve been trying to figure out why these two countries are so far apart on their attitudes to surveys – it almost seems a touchstone of some basic values (or lack of them).

    To value surveys, one has to hold the belief that people will truthfully fill out the forms (you touch on this a bit). You also have to believe that they will read and fully understand the questions on them. I think this is another reason for the difference, given the lower rate of literacy by the general population in the US.

    Also, there is a sort of cynicism which pervades US society that has not found as much of a home in Canada (which is very refreshing). This cynicism also extends to those value statements that you’ve mentioned as well. Maybe Enron, Walmart, Haliburton and the like have poisoned the economic atmosphere of the US to the degree that nothing a company says can overtake the overwhelming distaste that people have for the majority of companies and business in general. This may also be borne out of the great financial inequities in the US (again, not as bad in Canada) in addition to the corruption and general lack of moral scruples of those poster children of corporate greed.

    There are some bright spots, though. This past weekend I went to an Apple Store in Seattle, and was blown away by the service there. It was almost scary, how good these people were about both anticipating my needs and figuring out other ways that they could help with the purchase. I don’t know what value statement they are following, and it would be fascinating to find out the way they are trained and managed. The only other experience I’ve had with service that was close to that Apple Store one was the restaurant ‘West’, which I see has won the top spot in the Georgia Straight’s ratings a few weeks ago.

    PS: Love your new blog template. Elegant and classy. The body text is a little small for my eyes, but other than that, I think it’s beautiful.

  2. As you know, I’m passionate both about my business, and about my ‘job’ at …a… C.U. of sorts. I bring to my ‘job’ a lot of my entrepreneurial zest, which by no means goes unnoticed, but there is a peculiar tension between my passion and the, shall I say, work ‘template’ which in turn informs our surveys. What I’m trying to say is: what gets measured and quantified via surveys can be the very thing that gets in the way of passion and the human connection that cements the relationship.

    For example, we have a series of set courtesy phrases we are expected to use. These can help us get the ‘yes, very polite’ survey response, and can stilt a conversation. The job gets done, politely, but the heartbeat has stopped.

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