No Cinderella Story: How a Bad Survey Can Ruin the Ball


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I recently took a retail therapy break to my favorite store. I won’t name names but I consider this store to be the Disney of retail. Disney is well known for their guest experience and this retailer is well known for the legendary way their employees treat each and every customer interaction.

I have a shoe salesman there who rolls out the red carpet for me. Not figuratively but literally. He has a red satin square trimmed in gold that he carries in his suit pocket. When I try on a pair of shoes, he deftly places it under my feet so they never touch the carpet. The first time I experienced this I knew it would be a difficult choice to buy shoes anywhere else. I’ve told this story several times and could go on and on about their great customer service.

So where I am going with this?

A day later I received an e-receipt with a thank you for shopping with them and a request to share my feedback. As you can imagine, I was happy to let them know about my favorite shoe salesman and the red carpet treatment.

The first task was to type the transaction code from my receipt. Fortunately, they had an image of my receipt so I didn’t have to hunt down my original copy. It was also convenient that I could take survey my iPhone while I lounged on my sofa and did not have to use a computer later.

Then the aura of my experience started to break down.

The transaction code was 20 characters long…seriously, I counted them. I still wanted to share my great story so I wrote down the code since it was impossible to see the survey and the code at the same time. A polite message stated my code did not match a receipt on file. I was determined that they know what great service I encountered so I tried again and methodically entered the numbers. Bam! Same message. Unfortunately, I transposed two numbers when writing them down because the image on my phone was so small. I thought to myself, was it really that important to complete this survey? But I prevailed because I had a great experience.

Third time was the charm.

I got into the survey and started answering the questions. I was glad to tell the story of the red carpet treatment but the rest of the survey went on and on. I kept going because I wanted to ensure they heard about this salesperson. Finally, I got to the end of the survey and ironically there was the standard message about thanking me for my time and that they “strive to create the best possible experience…” I’m sure they were referring to my shopping experience, however, the survey experience was awful.

Would your customer feel the same way? Does your survey allow someone to tell their story without consuming too much of their time? Does your survey reflect your brand experience? What’s the last impression you want to leave in your customer’s mind?

Too bad they didn’t have a survey about their survey.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gloria Park Bartolone
I'm responsible for our Fieldwork Services Group at Maritz Research which is comprised of the people who collect, transcribe and code customer feedback through live telephone and mail surveys as well as the people who program our telephone, IVR (Interactive voice response), online and mobile web surveys.


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