Sometimes Customer Satisfaction Surveys are a Bad Idea

If your company really fucks up, you probably should not send a customer satisfaction survey.  Instead, try sending an apology, an account credit, and a bit of humility.  Otherwise, this (provided to me by a colleague) might end up in your inbox:

“Thank you for sending me a customer survey on my most recent experience with your company. Your error cost me $30,000 and countless hours of lost sleep.

Here is my feedback regarding your service:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, please rate the level of customer service you received from our staff: 10 being ‘best service possible’ and 1 being ‘I’m going to hunt you down and beat you to death’.” I give you a 1.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, please rate our staff on their level of knowledge and understanding of your needs. 10 being ‘very knowledgable’ and 1 being ‘I think Helen Keller could run circles around you’.” I give you a 1.

“And finally, on a scale of 1 to 10, please rate the likelihood you would refer us to your other business contacts: 10 being ‘very likely’ and 1 being ‘I am more likely to take bible study from Charles Manson’.” I give you a 1. 

Thanks for your time Debbi, make sure you tell everyone at the next staff meeting they are all as worthless as a condom in a convent.

And one more thing…You should consider an English class. 

Have a nice day and go to hell.”

United Airlines is notorious for sending stupid customer satisfaction surveys after they have totally fucked you… stranded someplace further from home than you started with an angry troll glaring at you from behind a counter.  Better yet: the ACA (Obamacare) requires hospitals to use satisfaction surveys.  Now, nurses will get shit on from both ends.  When patients are unsatisfied, nurses will get blamed.   Unfortunately, so much of what nurses MUST do is relatively uncomfortable for patients (waking them up to give medications, explaining to them their side effects, helping them eat, defecate, and clean themselves…).  Physicians are in the same boat.  No more patient-doctor relationship that isn’t finalized with a satisfaction survey.  Really?  I know several physicians who have decided to give up rather than put up with federal meddling in their practices and professional judgments.

Don’t bother taking surveys anyway.  The companies never contact you if you provide them a bad one, and don’t give a shit if you give them a good one.  Companies use it to let you vent your rage and only occasionally as an actual organizational development tool.  Surveys are not first-order bottom line opportunity creators – they are tools for aggregated data collection to determine what new products and services could be profitably offered to clients and customers.

Here’s an example: you complain about the TSA being horrible sex-predators who laugh at fat people and pray on children, while also being terrifically slow and incompetent, so the TSA develops a system by which you can pay money and move through security faster.  That’s right, you paid your government EXTRA to carry out one of its only legitimate functions, keeping you safe from violence, without treating you and your four-year-old child like a criminal enterprise.

Now do you feel cheated?  You should…