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!