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Jul 2016
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Where Have All the Customers Gone?: Beware of the Games that People Play

by: Terry Nicholson

In the second part of the series, we discussed the importance of having a report card for your technicians in the form of a customer satisfaction survey. Satisfaction surveys are vital components to add to your company. They allow you to discover how your customers like or dislike your services, and as a result, they allow your team to understand how well (or poorly) they’re performing.

The results of your customer satisfaction surveys will help you understand what adjustments must be made so your company does more of what people like and less of what they dislike. In doing this, you will build a repeat, loyal customer base at an expedited pace. People will contact you for service again and again, never so much as thinking of using the other guys.

In the last article, we also discussed 10 different survey options that you might employ to collect results. While it’s important that you choose one, it’s also important that you realize that each possesses pros and cons. None are perfect. For example, having your technicians distribute surveys at the end of the service call can save money on postage; however, some technicians may attempt to lobby homeowners for better scores.

As an owner or manager, keep that in your mind when evaluating the results of your satisfaction surveys. Kids aren’t the only ones who play games. When people know that their performances are being monitored, they may attempt to manipulate the results. And that defeats the purpose of the survey, which is for you to get an accurate representation of whether or not your company is delivering outstanding service.

Here are six classic tricks that your team may play on you in an attempt to position themselves in a positive light, while hiding any potential flaws in your business:

1. The Disappearing Card Trick: This occurs when your technician clearly can tell that the customer is not happy with his service and would not reply favorably on a survey. Conveniently, your technician “forgets” to give the card to the customer altogether.

2. The Vanishing Card Trick: Your technician gives the survey to the customer, but on the way back to the office, he looks at the results. They’re not pretty. The customer had some negative remarks. Surprisingly, that card vanishes into thin air before you’re able to read the feedback.

3. The Bribery Trick: Technicians who crave high scores may go out of their way to make small repairs without charging the customer. Your technician then will mention all of the free work as he hands the homeowner the satisfaction survey. He knows the customer will be appreciative and rate him highly.

4. The Intimidation Trick: This can be the most damaging situation. Bold and direct, your technician explains that his compensation is affected by survey responses. Before handing the homeowner the card, your technician asks, “There’s no reason you wouldn’t give me a perfect score, is there?” Customers will give your technician the perfect score just to eliminate the possibility of any conflict.

5. The Horns or Halo Trick: You have employees that like some team members while disliking others. You’re probably guilty of this, as well. That’s OK, unless the person collecting the surveys allows his/her bias to skew the results. This can happen whether the information comes from cards, phone calls, or personal visits. The individual gathering and supervising the reports may intentionally or unintentionally put horns or halos on certain technicians due to unrelated feelings.

6. Nut Case Trick: Your technician knows that a customer will give him a negative review. In an attempt to salvage the situation, he concocts a rehearsed sales presentation. He calls the office and tells a fabricated story: The customer is absolutely crazy, and anything he/she says cannot be taken seriously. This rehearsed excuse can work on the individual who collects the responses, especially if that person likes the technician. As a result, that survey is discarded or not collected.

Client satisfaction surveys act as excellent tools in weighing your team’s performance, but as you can see, they’re not foolproof. The process should be monitored closely and occasionally spot-checked. Talk to your technicians, chat with the manager responsible for collecting responses, and don’t be afraid to call homeowners. Make sure your team understands that the true value of these surveys is to help everyone monitor and elevate the level of service they offer. That’s how you make money every day.

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