Having recently taken my car in for service at a dealership, I was prepared for the instructions I was given on checkout.  I now expect to be presented with a copy of the survey that will be coming to my inbox, complete with all the answers I am to fill in circled and highlighted in yellow to make sure I give a“10” on every aspect of service.  The sweet lady handling my checkout gave me a very concerned look and admitted that if I wasn’t 100 percent pleased that it would reflect badly on her.  When I stopped and just stared at her for a moment, she admitted that it affects her performance review and raises/bonus programs.  If I had a problem, she would do everything she could to fix it.  The fact that it took them 2-1/2 hours to do an oil change and tire rotation was to be ignored, because the only victim punished by rating the experience a “5” or “6” was the poor lady behind the counter, who is now pleading with me not to do it.

Why does anything other than a perfect “10” cost these employees?  I haven’t found a situation where an 8 or 9 didn’t really hurt their standing, costing them money or denying them the chance to win prizes or perks.  Every time I go to this car dealership, I have the same basic interaction with an employee trying to control my survey responses.  I am sure you are also seeing same thing happen everywhere.

So, this isn’t about getting feedback for the customers, is it?  Nothing ever rates as less than perfect so nothing ever needs to be improved.  If management sincerely desired truthful responses in order to improve services, they wouldn’t set up a system where the only people filling out surveys are those willing to fill in all “10”s.  How could they not know that the employees are telling customers how to complete a survey?  The sample survey forms are lying on the counter. If management doesn’t know this is going on, shame on them.  If they do know it, holy cow, shame on them!

What’s the purpose? Convincing stakeholders of stellar performance? Setting up a metric to be used in the marketing plan? Persuading the distant headquarters/senior management that all is well? Do they really believe it? What is the point of this game?

I had two choices available if I didn’t want this sweet lady to take the brunt: A) not fill out the survey, or B) give the service department a “10”.  Wait – I did have a third choice – be truthful on the survey. And feel like a bad person.  What a strange situation.