My automobile dealer wants my experience with them to be perfect. Really, they do! It turns out that the dealership is given a financial incentive by the automobile manufacturer to deliver excellent service. They are worried that if the dealership fails, then the next time I buy a car I may switch, not just to a different dealership, but to a different brand all together. Even though it’s not the manufacturer’s fault that the dealer gives me a bad customer service experience, the dealer’s problems reflect poorly on the brand.
So whenever I bring my car in for service, the service manager reminds me how important it is for him to get a good review. He wants me to give him a perfect ten, and he gives me an incentive to do so. More on that in just a moment.
It turns out that some of the reviewers on social review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor and others are customers who have been bribed to leave those kind words. Now, bribe might be a strong word, but there is an incentive. Customers may be offered a discount or free merchandise. I’m not saying this is completely wrong. Giving a customer a coupon or discount for leaving a favorable review doesn’t bother me. It’s a way of nudging them to take action. And if your customers are not happy, a small discount won’t be the incentive that gets them to come back – or gets them to leave a positive review.
So, back to my auto dealership. They offered me a bribe to answer the manufacturer’s survey and give them high marks. The bribe was simple and, most important, ethical. The service manager made it clear he wanted me to give him a ten on the scale of one to ten, with ten being “excellent.” The incentive for me to do so was that he was going to give me the service I expected. He told me that if the service he gave me was anything less than a ten, he wanted to know about it so he could fix it. That was the bribe. He would deliver flawless service in exchange for a good review and a high score. This is a bribe I liked!
I once stayed at a hotel that made the same offer. There were several signs that asked for a review on one of the social review sites, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. The incentive to do so? It was similar to the car dealership. If they were falling short, they wanted to know so they could fix the complaint or problem. It was obvious that the hotel staff was 100% committed to the program.
So, if you want to bribe me with amazing service, I’m in!