Double Take

Taking a second look at life experiences

Archive for the category “Customer Service”

Is that amount okay?

yes-no

I always hit the bright green button robotically and agree to the purchase. I’m sure we all do. Why would we subject ourselves to the conflicted series of thoughts we would have if we actually considered the question?

“Hmmm, I don’t know, now that you mention it, I’m not sure about the amount. Maybe it should it be less? Do I really need to buy these things? Am I happy with my purchase…? Do you think you should have charged me less…is that why you’re asking? Am I missing out on a sale tomorrow…maybe I should wait before buying all these things?”

Here’s my chance to bag the whole thing, refuse to consume yet more goods, and run for the hills. But no, I’m a compliant consumer,  so I click the inviting green button that seems to wink at me, and go on my way.

Still, wouldn’t it be more honest to ask me “Do you confirm this purchase?” Then I could click either yes or no and be saved from the option of entering into a meaningless analytic dialogue with myself that in the end, wouldn’t matter anyway.

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Why I Don’t Like Customer Satisfaction Surveys

hmm...

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.

 

Does the cashier need to be authentic?

"Have a Nice Day!"

“Have a Nice Day!”

by Ruth Schapira

In our everyday lives, we can become as robots. Not seeing, hearing, or reacting to what’s around us. This experience can happen in your local supermarket.

A short time ago, I was at the “12 items or less” express line, counting my items to make I did not go over the limit (do you do this too?). I didn’t want the person behind me to think that I wasn’t following proper supermarket etiquette. After I paid, the cashier said “Have a nice day” and I said “thank you, you too–have a great day!” and mentioned that actually I forgot something, and would be back in the line again.

Why did I even tell her this? Does my interaction with the cashier have to be ‘real’? Would she actually care that I forgot something? Doesn’t she have enough to think about without minding my business? What’s it to her if I show up in her line a few minutes later?  Was she getting paid by how many people she served that day? 

She ignored my comment, and I quickly went to get the item I forgot. I got back into the same line no more than 3 minutes later. I couldn’t help myself: “Hi, I’m back” as if she cared that I returned for a second or even third time. She didn’t acknowledge my attempt to connect with her, and wasn’t remembering that I had been there a few minutes earlier. I was her next transaction, and it was not part of her job to notice things like this. So, she scanned my one item, fetched a new bag and said “Thank you, Have a nice day” as if she saw me for the first time. She must have said these words hundreds of times before. This is just another version of “Hello, How are you?” that she says in the beginning of the transaction, not expecting or wanting a reply.  This is what we expect from our transactions.

So why did this tiny interaction bother me? It wasn’t that unusual or unique. Things like this happen to everyone almost every day. Why write about it? 

She’s a cashier and has a job to do. So what if she doesn’t relate to the people in her line. She was trained to say the same thing to each customer, over and over. This happens everyday and everyone just moves on. Get over it. 

We are surrounded with opportunities, sometimes small and insignificant ones, to connect with people. On a person-to-person level. Not a person-to-machine level. We need to grab what we can, when we can, to make interactions with people pleasant and yes, even a little significant.

The cashier has little reason to acknowledge me other than just being an authentic person who interacts with another human being. We can behave as people, even for the most minor interactions, which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

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