Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Another Customer Survey

The customer is always right, so the saying goes. Of course, they aren’t always right but in these days of self-assessment and corporate image, the views of ‘the customer’ is of paramount importance to the vast majority of big and not so big businesses (BT and First Group being the obvious exception – see Rants passim)

I am used to using particular products and services and then receiving an email a few days later from the company concerned asking for my opinion. It’s human nature to only respond to these customer satisfaction surveys if you have something ti complain about. And, as you all know, I’m not one to complain…

The hotel chain Travelodge have done this for several years now. Whenever I stay in one of their hotels, I am usually asked for my opinion. The last time I stayed in one was in May last year when I stayed overnight in Aberdeen. The location was always going put a dampener on Travelodge’s effort to seek praise for their services. The hotel was clean enough and served its basic purpose of having a comfortable bed on which to crash out after a indulging in a couple of half pint shandies after watching Hearts play at Pittodrie. My grip with this particular visit was with the lass on reception who was about as welcoming as Aberdonians can be (there was never any danger of her face breaking out into a smile and she advised me the lift was ‘doon the hall there’) Naturally, I referred to this in my ‘customer satisfaction survey’ which I received a couple of days later. The point I am rather labouring here is Travelodge would have been none the wiser about their surly employee – if they hadn’t rather inconvenienced me with one of their damn surveys.

While I’ve been used to Travelodge’s ways of gauging customer satisfaction, it seems to me more and more companies are now following suit. I ordered something from Amazon a couple of days after Christmas. Their customer focus is second to none and upon placing the order on-line, I immediately received an email advising me when I could expect delivery. In fact the goods arrived the day before the expected delivery date so I was a happy chappy. I fully expected the ‘customer survey’ email from Amazon and this was duly received yesterday. However, to my puzzlement, the survey wasn’t asking about the delivery process; it was asking if I was satisfied with the way it was packaged. This is a new one on me. As long as the goods were intact and they were delivered on time, it’s a fair assertion that I couldn’t give a monkey’s toss about the packaging.

Last week, I ordered a printer from John Lewis. I opted for the ‘click and collect’ service which their Edinburgh branch operates. I ordered the goods on-line and received the now customary email advising I could collect it the following day, which I did on my way home from work. It was not a particularly memorable experience – two fellas behind a desk, one of whom went round the back of the office and returned with my printer two minutes later – but then again, collecting an item from a shop is hardly designed to be memorable. Nonetheless, John Lewis have seen fit to email me a survey asking for my opinion on their ‘click and collect service’.

Now, I realise the importance of gauging customer satisfaction and evaluating customer service. Good God, I work for an organisation which falls over itself at times to prove it provides excellent customer service. But, I suspect I’m not alone in becoming rather weary at receiving countless customer satisfaction surveys, particularly for nondescript, routine things like how your goods from Amazon were packed.

I’m like any other person in that if I’m unhappy with a service I’ll damn well complain about it (and this worked to good effect with BT in September). I really can’t be bothered with survey after survey about how my ‘customer experience’ was.

Unless I’m sent a survey about the customer satisfaction survey. Then I may let loose…


Adullamite said...

'Auld Reekie Rants'

Overall I was satisfied with this post.
It was of reasonable length, contained few words I had to look up, and was to the point and even entertaining.

However we are not told the name of the Travelodge employee, just in case we pass this way ourselves.

There appeared to be complaints re John Lewis and being satisfied with the service, this I fail to understand.

The term 'I'm not one to complain...' was I thought copyright elsewhere (and my lawyers are investigating this) but this phrase appears out of step with previous posts on this excellent blog.

Overall I give 8/10 mostly because the writer smiled when writing and said 'Thank you' as he threw me out the door.

Yours etc.

Mike Smith said...

Thank you for your comments. Your views are important and assist me in providing a better service for my reader.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I am so with you on this Mike! The endless stream of surveys drive me crazy. And, having worked for a survey happy company in the past, I'm guessing no one in the company reads them (like I never did) because I knew people hated completing them. Ugh.
Happy New Year! jj