If we are not willing to be honest as customers how can we expect businesses to get better?

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If we are not willing to be honest as customers how can we expect businesses to get better

Today I wanted to tell you a story about customer surveys. Normally, I write about how I think many businesses either don’t survey their customers enough, in the right way or make their surveys too long or complicated and then complain that they don’t get the response rates that they want.

However, today I want to turn the tables a little onto us, as customers.

Anyway, yesterday I got home from a set of meeting in London quite early and as I arrive I switched on the TV to catch a bit of the news and sit down for five minutes before I spent a bit of time catching up on emails, comments on the blog, comments on other blogs, tweets etc. As I was looking to see what news was on I came across the end of a programme called ‘Four in a Bed‘ on Channel 4, here in the UK. This is nothing saucy but one of those business reality TV programmes, where four Bed & Breakfast hotel owners throw open their doors and take turns to stay with one another – and pay what they consider fair for their stay at the end of the programme. I’m happy to say that I didn’t watch all of the programme (not my cup of tea) but when I switched it on there was a section where each of the hotel owners (husband and wife teams) had just stayed at one of the other participants B&B and they had to fill in a feedback survey form.

Now, what I then saw was a lot of discussions about how somethings were ok, good, not good, disappointing, made them feel uncomfortable etc. But, then I watched how the scoring process seem to go with participants giving scores or 8 out of ten for something that they were happy with and then 5 out of ten for things that they weren’t happy with.

In this case, there may have been some competitive shenanigans going on but I have noticed this type of behaviour before ie. not giving someone top marks or not marking them down when they truly deserved it. And, to compound it, when they were delighted or disappointed not taking the opportunity to tell the business why.

This got me to thinking.

Why do we do that? Do we have a block when it comes to marking someone down or giving them great marks when completing a survey?

Think about it this way. As a customer, if you give someone 5 out of ten then in many exam terms that still means they passed. But, is your 5 intended to mean pass or fail?

As businesses we have to encourage and educate our customers to be as honest as they can with us. Otherwise, why don’t we just exlude the bottom (and top) of our scales.

Do we avoid giving criticism and praise? Why is that?

Thanks to hfabulous for the image.

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