Being data-driven is great. Customer Service Theatre is not.

Being data-driven is great. Customer Service Theatre is not.

Is it just me, or has every interaction with every customer service entity devolved into a funnel for customer service surveys?

In fact, on at least two customer service calls I’ve made in the last two weeks, I’ve been proffered a survey, before I even get to contact a rep.

Something’s wrong here.

In fact, I suggest that the overuse of customer service surveys is akin to the misuse of antibiotics in fighting infections – after awhile, a certain immunity builds up, and before you know, surveys are totally ineffective.

Don’t believe me?

Go to a dealership, and buy a car. Before you leave the lot, you are asked to rank the interaction for J.D Power and Associates. Anything less than a perfect ranking is a black eye for the dealership. So, you are instructed that by your salesperson, and asked to vote them a 10. Teaching to the test, as it were. I therefore hold the Power awards to be pretty useless, because they describe nothing about the excellence of the actual customer interaction, only in how well dealers – and anyone using the ranking – game the ranking process.

For an example in the sharing economy, look no further than Uber. I love Uber – and use it regularly. After each ride, you are asked to rank the experience. If drivers average experience rankings fall below a 4.0 out 5.0, they are sanctioned. Regulars know this, and so will rank even average rides as 4.0 so as not to screw the drivers. In other words, the ranking holds no substantive meaning in terms of describing – and improving – actual customer experience; it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

My local cable provider, Optimum, does an exceptional job at customer experience. In fact, their video explaining customer’s first bill is one of the best customer-facing tools I’ve seen in a long time. However, even their techs will push you to rank them highly, when the inevitable survey is sent.

I don’t blame those being ranked for gaming the system. It’s what I would do.

Rather, I would ask companies – are your customer data collection instruments actually improving customer experience, or are you simply providing a mechanism for collecting information for punitive action against those being measured?

If the answer is the latter, you’re doing it wrong.

I “get” that surveys and self-reporting are often the only way to get at some of this information.

But companies should not advertise how they are teasing these metrics internally, to prevent gaming of the system, and to obtain data that is actionable and unbiased, rather than having the customer pre-fed insincere answers that they should supply, regarding their interaction.

Otherwise, it’s only an exercise in self-delusion: customer service theatre.

Customer Service Theatre

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One thought on “Being data-driven is great. Customer Service Theatre is not.

  1. Reblogged this on 300 Words, 2 Minutes and commented:

    Are your customer data collection instruments actually improving customer experience, or are you simply providing a mechanism for collecting information for punitive action against those being measured?

    Like

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