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A Hamburger, Fries, and a Customer Survey to go please!

September 5, 2010

In the olden days, let us say the fifties, you would go to a store to buy something and once paid for you would bring it home and put it to use.  The experience of buying wasn’t anything you thought about, unless you were treated really bad, then you might not return.  If you went to a restaurant you would eat and if the service was poor you might not leave a tip or at least leave only a small one.  (Side note – if you get poor service don’t leave a tip, this well send a message, if you leave a small tip they will just think you are cheap.)

Somewhere along the line the idea of surveying one’s customers to evaluate your business came along.  Now when a few places did this, such as an automobile dealer or high end department store, it was tolerable. After all if you are spending $65,000 on a vehicle or $500 on a pair of Ferragamo shoes from Neiman Marcus you expect to be treated well and those businesses want to ensure that you were.

The problem today is that everywhere you go they are survey happy.  Go into Macy’s and buy $25 shirt and the clerk spends most of their time telling you about a survey you should fill out.  Drive through Wendy’s and as they pass you your burger and fries they tell you that on the receipt is a place to log in and fill out a survey.  No matter where you go or what you buy someone is wanting to survey you.

If all of these places concentrated on actually helping you they would not need a survey.  A good example is Safeway.  Every time I check out they ask if I found everything, the times I have said no and described what I was looking for the response is “Oh, I am sorry you didn’t find everything”.  So if they are not going to do anything why ask the question?!!!

The worst was the survey I filled out for Beverages and More.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like the store and buy my Glen Livet 18 yr old scotch there along with many fine wines and cigars.  But the survey asked questions about how I was helped that I have never experienced from any clerk at a Bev-Mo.  Have you ever had a clerk there tell you about a special they were having or suggest something else to go along with what you are buying?  I never have, yet that was part of the survey.

What seems like a good idea has been overdone and misused and abused.  I am not sure just how much money a business spends on “customer satisfaction”, but maybe if that money went to the employees they would be happier and just might treat customers better.  Ever wonder what would happen if no one  responded to a survey?

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