Do you have some spare time to fill out a survey? How about to post your opinion online?
Customer Satisfaction. That’s what most consumer companies would like you to believe they’re interested in.
The idea of garnering customer’s opinions permeates every area of our functional society. Everyone wants to know what you think of them and how they did. Whether you’ve accessed an app, completed a course or cruise, or even serviced your car, you’ve been asked to rate your experience. But as a customer, I’m totally dissatisfied with the way this goes.
Our impressions count. There are people who write the surveys you take. Then there are more people whose job it is to read and analyze what you write. Then still more people who write reports based on the analysis those other people provided. Then, there are those who craft marketing campaigns and advertisements based on what the reports said. And still more people who discuss what you think of the conclusions reached by the reports.
And of course, everyone weighs in on the ways in which the bottom line and your future purchases will be impacted by all of this.
It’s a splendid circle of customer gratification and fulfillment. So, are you satisfied? How did they do? Do you feel important?
Tracking Your Satisfaction
Companies hope you’ve been satisfied, and diligently chase you down until you finally relent and rate their service. They hope you think they will be hanging on your every word.
You might be asked to complete a primate survey (every time I’ve taken one of those monkey surveys I actually feel like a primate in need of constant reinforcement. This has to do with that annoying bar on top showing me how much I’ve completed and how much more is left to go before I get my banana).
Or you might be asked to post a review online. If you feel particularly flushed with excess time you might decide to do that, especially if you want your opinion to come up in a Google search for your name.
Or you might even be asked to use your personal social media account to “Like” the company that, believe it or not, was actually paid to deliver the service they gave you, getting additional unpaid advertising revenue from your ability to give a thumbs-up vote of affirmation.
This whole process just makes me feel like I’m being used.
Especially when I’m told how to rate said business or service. For example, on a cruise we took several years ago, staffers told all travelers, in very obvious and frontal ways, to rate them a 10. More recently, I read a request posted at the car dealership to rate the service all 10’s. A sign at the cashier’s desk said that a rating less than that would do irreparable harm to the dealer’s standing.
(Note to dealer, the place where customers have to shell out considerable cash is probably not the best place to make such a request. Maybe posting the request at the free coffee machine would garner better results.)
So, what is a consumer to do?
You might find new ways to make the feedback you’re giving more personal. If so, I’d love to hear about them.
One way I’ve circumvented the impersonal system is by writing e-mails directly to the manager in charge, containing specific feedback and mentioning staffers by name. Instead of the time it takes to read through endless questions, checking boxes and circles, these personal notes actually take me less time to complete. In almost all cases, I’ve received a welcomed response in return.
Will doing this make a huge difference anywhere to anyone except me?
No, but it does make me feel a lot less like a cog in the circular consumer machine.