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No Survey For You!


I’m a fan of customer feedback surveys – when done correctly, companies can gain some very valuable feedback. Does your company have consistently glowing feedback, with little to no negativity? Before you pat yourself on the back, make sure the way customers are being invited to take the survey are truly collecting information that is not skewed in any way.


Below are a few real life examples that have surprised me to see, causing me to wonder what the data collection looks like on the back end.


1. “No survey for you!” – I was recently waiting in line to complete a transaction. I overheard the employee ask a guest several people ahead of me how they would rate his service. She replied, “good” and he asked for a number between one and ten, with ten being the highest. Awkward, right?


She says “I guess a ten. It was good” and I watched him print the receipt, circling the QR code at the bottom of the survey. He then encouraged her to take the survey and share her rating there.


Being in the industry I am, I was thankful that I had customers ahead of me to watch what happens next. The next three customers were asked the same question, and the process repeated – receipt, QR code circled, mentioned the survey.


The woman in front of me was having a bad day, and was not happy with the wait. When it came time to answer the question, she shared her displeasure with the wait and that there was not more help. He asked her to clarify with a number and she said, “Maybe a 4 or 5.”


Can you guess what happened next?


The employee printed the receipt, handed it to her, and wished her a good day. No circling on the receipt, no mention of the survey. I’m sure the QR code was there, but it wasn’t highlighted or mentioned in any way, maybe in hopes that this customer wouldn’t take it.


2. “I really need a raise” – another example is similar to the one above. While making a purchase at a retail store, the cashier ends the transaction by asking if I had a good experience. She then asks me to complete a survey and rate her high because the company is looking at the results and will be basing raises for the new year on the results. She writes her name on the receipt and asks me to give her a good review because “she really could use the extra money.”


3. “Please don’t tell me how I feel, or stretch the truth” – One cashier ended the transaction by circling the URL at the bottom of the receipt, explaining that if I give the company a 9 or 10 rating, I will entered into a monetary drawing.


Having shopped at this store for a long time, I know they’ve had the monetary drawing for a while now; adding the “rate us high and you’ll be entered” send a couple of wrong messages. One, they only want the high ratings, and two, the only way you could be entered is to give a high rating. So what if I give them a 5? Do they throw out my response? Or do they keep it but I don’t get a chance to win?


The best way to get the most accurate feedback is to make sure employees are encouraging customers to take the survey during each and every transaction. It’s good, in theory, to tie incentives to the results, but be careful of how that translates with your staff. As an additional measure, incorporate this type of information into your performance reviews or mystery shopping program – incorporate a question that asks if the employee mentioned the feedback survey, and if so, if it was handled objectively.


Feedback is great when collected correctly; make sure your invitations come with no strings attached!