Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Avoiding common pitfalls, part of Using Customer Surveys to Improve Service.
- There are a few pitfalls that can derail an otherwise good survey program. I'd like to share just a few. The first is what I call Low Score Freak Out. That's when you adjust your survey to make it more accurate and useful. You end up getting better data, but it also causes your average score to decline. Executives like it when survey scores are high, so they naturally freak out when they see a lower score. This is a tough challenge to overcome. So the best approach here is to control the message. Prepare executives upfront for the possibility that survey scores might decline a bit.
Next, show executives how the new survey is better able to solve problems that impact the business. It's easy to get upset over a lower survey score, but most executives will be happy to see a survey that's really making an impact on their business. Any time you have an incentive for earning a higher survey score, or a penalty for a lower survey score, you run the risk of having employees try to Game the system. I've seen employees literally beg their customers for a positive survey. In some cases, employees have created fake surveys just to pump up their scores.
There are two ways that companies typically handle this problem. The best way to avoid Gaming is to take away incentives and penalties that are based on the score. A survey should help you learn how to improve service, but providing employees with an incentive based on survey scores changes that focus. Now they just want to get a good score rather than learn from customer feedback. Of course, in some cases, incentives are unavoidable. For example, they might be part of an employee bonus system that's hard to undo. In that case, the second option is to audit the results.
You should carefully examine your survey process to ensure employees aren't Gaming it. The last one is Score Focus. It's related to Gaming, but can be a problem all on its own. This is when customer service leaders get so focused on the survey score that they lose sight of the ultimate goal. Improving service. Avoiding this pitfall starts with leadership. Teams that use surveys really well spend much more time looking for insight that can help them improve. After all, the score is just a number.
It's the insight the survey provides that's truly useful. If you can avoid these pitfalls you'll be much more likely to use your survey program to get great insight that will help you improve service.