What Do Macy’s and Car Dealerships Have in Common?


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This is a sad commentary, indeed.

Last night my wife came home from (trying) to return goods she bought the day prior at Macy’s. She had to scour the salers floor to even find a living, breathing (perhaps) soul. When she finally did find someone, departments away from the merchandise she’d purchased, the clerk accepted the return.

But here comes the good part. When she finished reversing the transaction, the clerk asked my wife to PLEASE go up online and give her the best review possible (probably 5-star). Otherwise, she feared her job might be in jeopardy.

Now, does anyone wonder why Macy’s will wind up in the dumpster while Nordstrom lives on? Ain’t the clerk’s fault. Someone in senior management learned this technique buying his or her last car. And whoever conjured this up needs to be taken out behind the barn and shot.

But probably won’t matter, because there will be so many others likely to step up in his or her place, without missing a beat.


  1. This is a major issue I have with companies that conduct surveys. (I blogged about it here: http://www.insidecrm.com/blog/customer-surveys-how-do-you-use-them-and-how-can-you-trust-them.php). If you want real data, do not tell the employees that their necks are on the line based on the results – as if management has no role whatsoever in customer satisfaction. And why would you administer any survey in such a way that the future of those administering it depends on the answers they get back? Is there a surer way to collect inaccurate data about your business?

    Instead, if you really want data you can use to make decisions, let your employees know that the surveys are just a way to take the temperature of the customers and to discover ways to make the customers’ experience better every time they visit. They should be seen as something to help the employees do their jobs better, not as a sword hanging over their heads.


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