CSAT scores…or happy customers?

I went out for dinner last night. At the end of the meal, after processing our payment, the server handed my husband the table-top computer and somewhat sheepishly pointed out the short, 5-question survey, including where the place for ‘good’ scores was – on the right. Nervously, she asked my husband to please fill out the survey and said she hoped she’d been attentive enough and that we were satisfied with the service. Having worked in customer service myself for many years and having been in the same position – basically forced to ask customers to fill out surveys – and give me positive results – I felt sorry for the server. “Don’t worry,” I said. “We’ll give you a good survey. And the service was very nice!” As the server looked on, my husband filled out the form. After she left, I turned to him and said, “Disrespectful. Disrespectful. Disrespectful. Disrespectful to the server, and disrespectful to us, the customers!” Here’s why I think that:

  • Before servers are servers, they are human beings! Asking them to basically beg for a good survey, so that they can keep their job, get a raise, or help their particular location meet its CSAT (customer satisfaction) goals is demeaning and degrading. Servers aren’t numbers…a 3 or a 5 on a survey…they’re human beings!
  • As a customer, being asked to fill out a survey while the person who created the experience I’m commenting on is standing beside me is very unpleasant. In fact, it’s downright awkward. Feeling forced to fill out a survey positively doesn’t respect my right to fill out the survey or not in the first place, and, if I do want to fill it out, to comment honestly.

In my view, having the server point-blank ask us to fill out the survey with the highest score possible, shows that the restaurant doesn’t actually care about whether we, as customers, were happy or not! What is shows me is that they are really concerned about how their CSAT scores look on a corporate dashboard!

So, what could the restaurant have done differently? Well, to start with, the manager could have spent time watching the server do their job! Then, based on those observations, the manager could have come and asked my husband and I how the service was…what we enjoyed…and what would have made the experience better for us! We could have had an actual dialogue, and a real, personal human connection! If the service hadn’t been good, the manager would have the opportunity, right there and then, to fix any problems and make sure that we left the restaurant feeling happy and satisfied.  Which brings me to the point of this podcast.

Managing CSAT scores isn’t the same thing as making sure that you have happy customers.

And in this day and age, with so much choice in service options, it’s essential to have happy customers! Because unhappy customers are likely to switch service providers after even just one bad service experience.

I’m not a big fan of customer satisfaction surveys in general. Not just because they reduce our customers and service reps to numbers, but because they present ‘data’ versus actual facts that we can learn for ourselves, from our customers, simply by connecting with them personally and observing and asking.

Taiichi Ohno said, “I much prefer facts over data”, and especially when it comes to finding out how our customers really feel about our service, so do I!

‘Check in’ with people…to show you respect them!

‘Respect for people’ is one of the foundational practices of Lean. As well, the topic of ‘respect’ is one I hear discussed often in all types of organizations. But what does ‘respect’ and ‘respect for people’ really mean? In many of the organizations I’ve worked with (and for) and in many business-related articles I read, respect for people at work seems to be defined as ‘hire great people and get out of their way and let them do their job’. I’ve also heard a version of this from employees working in a variety of organizations: “I know my boss respects and trusts me because they leave me alone to do my work.”

Although this might sound good on the outside (and a lot less work for managers and leaders!), I find it quite problematic. And here’s why:

Because, in most of the organizations I’ve worked with, the other most-often discussed topic is ‘accountability’. How do we make sure that things are getting done, and that people are doing what they need to do? If there’s no ‘accountability’ then leaders are frustrated because work doesn’t get done and goals are unmet, and employees are equally frustrated because new initiatives seem to come along, get going and then fizzle out, often without success.

And why do they fizzle out unsuccessfully? Often because leadership has simply failed to ‘check-in with’ people. Not check on them, to point a finger or blame them if they’re not ‘hitting the target’ or getting results, but to ‘check-in with’ them, to help them learn to work in new ways, put new concepts into practice and remove obstacles and barriers success.

‘Checking in with’ people shows them that you care about them. Not just as employees, but as human beings! Because the people who work for us aren’t ‘resources’ or FTE’s (full-time-equivalents) or ‘heads’…they’re human beings who come to work each day eager to satisfy customers and to contribute their particular and unique strengths, skills and perspectives to help their organization reach its goals and fulfill its purpose.

So, if you’re a leader, here’s your challenge! How can you ‘check-in’ frequently (yes – even every day!) with each of your team members? ‘Check in with’ them to show them that you care about them and value their work (as I so often say: what we spend our time on is what we value)? ‘Check-in with’ them to show them that you are accountable for making sure they have what they need to be successful? ‘Check-in with’ them to help them develop their critical thinking and creative problem-solving abilities so they can continuously learn and grow – as employees and human beings?

‘Checking in’ frequently is one of the best ways that I know to show your people that you truly respect them!

And special thanks to Doug Wotherspoon at Algonquin College for inspiring this post! You’re doing a great job ‘checking in’!

Go Kindly! And Give…of Yourself!

Day 5 of the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

Today’s Reflection – and Challenge – is about giving. And I don’t mean giving money…I mean giving of yourself!

Last night I was on a very crowded bus. Definitely standing room only! There was a homeless man sitting across from me. When a woman got on the bus juggling a lot of packages, the homeless man immediately got up and offered her his seat. She gladly accepted! Although we often think about ‘giving’, or ‘paying it forward’ as something that has to do with money, it reminded me that ‘giving’ means much more than that.

So, for today’s KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge…

Find a way to ‘give of yourself.’ Lend an ear, help carry a package, spend time with your children. We are all unique and special and always have something to give others!

Go Kindly! And Listen…With Open Ears, Open Eyes, Open Mind and an Open Heart!

Day 3 of the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

Today’s Reflection – and Challenge – is about listening! With Open ears, open eyes, open mind and an open heart!

Although our sense of hearing might be the first that comes to mind when we think about listening, I’ve come to realize that listening doesn’t only involve our ears! To really listen compassionately and empathetically, we also need to open our eyes to ‘see’ how someone is feeling, open our minds to understand what’s going on behind the words they’re saying (and we’re hearing) and open our hearts so that we ‘listen’ in a kind, caring and helpful way.

So, today, for the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge…

Listen! With open ears, open eyes, open mind and an open heart! Kindly. The way you’d like others to listen to you!


Go Kindly…And Smile!

It’s Day 2 of the KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge!

Today’s Reflection – and Challenge – is about smiling – one of the simplest and easiest-to-accomplish Random Acts of Kindness that I know!

First, my reflection. I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve noticed that people don’t seem to smile at each other very often. Whether waiting for a flight in one of the many airports I pass through, or walking out on the street, it seems to me that most people are going about their business heads down, absorbed in their own thoughts or whatever’s happening on their phone! We pass by without even noticing or acknowledging each other – even in the hallways of our own organizations! And to me, that’s a shame, because although it seems like each of us is separate and independent, we’re really all interconnected and dependent on each other! Although you might not know the person you’re passing, you can be sure that, just like you, they have hopes and dreams to fulfill, joy to share and things in their life that they’re struggling with! And just like a simple smile from someone brightens your day – a simple smile from you will brighten theirs!

So, today’s KRC Random Acts of Kindness Challenge (which you’ve probably figured it out already)…is…

Smile! At every person you meet in passing! Wherever you are! It’s an easy way to insure that you’ll feel great – and so will they!


People are never a waste!

Although this may seem like a given, in today’s cost-conscious and ever-more competitive environment, reducing costs by reducing the number of people who are doing the work is common. And while this might sometimes be a necessity, unless an organization has really focused on finding creative ways to remove real waste (transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, over-processing, over production and defects, our traditional lean wastes) cutting people isn’t a good idea. And here’s why. Because people, unlike machinery, or technology or buildings don’t depreciate over time. In fact, when we teach, coach and support them, people actually appreciate. With increased experience, people gain knowledge, wisdom and confidence. Then they’re better able to serve customers and find creative ways to improve services and products. And because each person is a unique individual, they bring their own special strengths and perspective. People aren’t numbers – costs to be reduced – and people are never, ever, ever a waste!

More Frequent Contact…not Less!

Last week, near the end of a wonderful lean coaching session, the person I was working with said, “It’s so much easier to learn how to do this with someone to help and support me”. I responded with, “I think that’s true about everything.” And I really do. Whether it’s learning how to work in a different way, or trying a new hobby at home, having someone to help support and nurture us is unbelievably important. Much more important than we usually acknowledge, especially in the business world, where it’s common to hear things like, “Hire people you trust and then leave them alone to get their work done”. Problem is, that means people who are learning are often left to struggle alone. And that’s not fun, kind or caring. So, if you’re a coach – or a leader – and you see that someone is struggling, my suggestion is to increase the frequency of contact you have with them and the help you give them. As I always, say, “We’re put here on earth to help each other. It’s why there are seven billion of us. If we were meant to do everything on our own, there would just be one!”

The KRC Creativity Challenge Day 5: A Vision is a Picture!

Can you believe it? It’s already Friday! And the last day of the KRC Creativity Challenge! Yesterday, we practiced turning ‘words’ into pictures. Today, as our last exercise of this challenge, we’re going to expand on that idea.

For today’s exercise, we’re going to ‘draw out our vision’:

Although we’re normally used to seeing a ‘vision statement’ written out in words, when you think about it, a ‘vision’ is actually a picture! So, for today, think about what you envision for the future. Either personal or professional. What do you dream of? What do you imagine for yourself, your family, your organization and the world? Now, instead of writing that ‘vision’ down in words, draw a picture of it! What do you see? What is your picture ‘showing’ you? What’s the next, creative step that you can take to turn your vision into a reality?

Thanks to everyone for participating and creating! I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have! Winners of one of my drawings will be announced next week!

1/25/18 – The KRC Creativity Challenge Day 4: Picture This

One of the things that always surprises me is the preference of words over pictures that most of us seem to develop as adults. Although understanding the world through images and pictures comes before words (think of the picture books you enjoyed as a child) as we get older it’s as if we somehow forget the power that images have to convey meaning. Today’s creativity exercise is designed to help you build a bridge b tween words and images.

For today’s practice write the first word that comes into your mind on a piece of paper. Then add lines, shapes, and colors to turn it into a picture of what the word says. (You might remember doing this spontaneously as a child! While you’re doing the exercise to day, remember the joy you had creating when you did it!)

The KRC Creativity Challenge Day 3: Connect the Dots!

It’s Day 3 of the KRC Creativity Challenge. Today we’re going to do an exercise called Connect the Dots. Often, creativity is simply about making connections between things we already know. For today’s exercise, take a pencil and make dots all over your paper. Sit back and take a look! What does the pattern look like? Connect the dots and color it in! Easy, fun and creative!

Karyn Ross Consulting

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