Saturday, December 18, 2010

Customer service ratings--to the extreme!

I've noticed as a consumer that there has been a bigger focus on customer service surveys recently. I guess it makes sense. In an economy where jobs are hard to get and money is tight, businesses are doing whatever they can to make sure they retain their customers.

I'm all for receiving excellent service. If I go somewhere, I want to be treated nicely, not talked down to and certainly not treated like I'm a nuisance.

However, just like many things happening in corporate America, things can be taken too far. Think about the last time to went to your bank. Now, if I were to ask you the following questions, how would you rate your experience on a scale from 1 to 6 (6 being the best):

1. They went out of the way to please

2. They did things right the first time

3. They treated you like a valued customer

4. They made your business their top priority

5. They followed up and kept their promises

All right, have you figured out what you would have rated them? How many of you gave a perfect "6" in all the categories?

Now, did you know that if you scored anything less than a "6" in any of those categories, the person you "graded" would have a black mark given to them?

Now, let's take it to the next step. Let's say in any given month, 14,000 people go to a certain bank location. Of those 14,000, 10 people are randomly called. Of those ten, the minimum goal is 80%, or 8 out of 10 have to grade their visit with all perfect 6's across the board.

Any math whizzes out there that can figure the margin of error with those numbers?

I, sadly, have worked in such an environment. In my opinion, it is completely unfair--especially when the employee is held accountable for the non-perfect shop, even if they did all they could to take care of the customer.

Need more proof? Here is a true story that happened to me:
I was at a training class for a couple of days. When I returned to my store that I manage, I'm told that a customer came in while I was gone. He was very upset because another store, a good hour away, had messed up his accounts and caused him fees. My team fixed the issue, refunded the fees, and escalated the issue to the area manager--because the man was that upset. I was contacted by the area manager and asked to buy a gift card for the customer to "make it up to him". I was also told at the time that I needed to update the man's zip code in the system.
So, I did as was asked. I even called and left a message for the customer apologizing for what he had gone through and told him the gift card was on the way.

When out next surveys came in, this customer had been called and scored us very low. What was worse? The survey pinned me as the person who got the bad survey. How could that have happened? I had never even seen or spoken to the man. The survey was triggered when I updated the man's zip code in the system.

The result? Not only did I lose a big chunk of my bonus for that month, but I was also written up for the low survey--because it was policy that anytime that low of a survey is received, the person had to be written up.

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