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I know we have the destruction of the Republic and basic liberty to fight against, but I want to divert briefly from such weighty topics with a rant about the uselessness of most customer surveys. I think we have discussed this topic before here on Ricochet. A note provided by a hotel on a recent trip reminded me of the uselessness of so many customer surveys. Maybe some Ricochetti are plugged into organizations in such a way that they can encourage those organizations to rethink how they score customer surveys.
What set me off was we recently drove across the western United States and stayed at several properties associated with one particular lower mid-priced hotel brand (the kind that provides a basic room and serves a basic buffet breakfast, not fancy). One such property supplied guests with a note that said,
“You may receive an online survey concerning your stay with us. On these surveys, “8”s [on a 10 point scale] are below average, and we hate “8”s. We want to make sure you have an enjoyable stay with us. If you feel you cannot score us with a 9 or 10, please come by and visit with us or call the Front Office and let us know how we can make your visit the [brand name] stay you deserve.”
What’s the point of a ten-point scale if 80% of the scale is considered “failure”? The personnel at a car dealer at which I have had several cars serviced have told me that the car manufacturer considers any score other than a 5 on a 5 point scale to be a negative (a failure). If there is no differentiation between “met expectations,” “exceeded expectations,” and “knocked it out of the park,” what does the company learn from the survey? As a manager, I was constantly reminded that I should expect most employees to be rated a “3” on a 5 point scale (“met expectations”). Only a tiny fraction of employees will meet the level of “5” (“outstanding”).
The top 10 – 20% of a satisfaction scale should be reserved for truly unexpected and exceptionally good service. Scores of 6 or 7 on a 10 point scale at a modest hotel should be a perfectly acceptable norm. I got what I expected at this hotel – budget service for a budget price. I did not receive Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons level service, but I’m also not paying Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons prices. If I adjust the rating scale so it looks like I received Ritz-Carlton service at budget prices when in fact I received the expected budget service at budget prices, the hotel doesn’t receive information about how they are really doing against their competitors, or what areas might provide an opportunity for brand experience focus.
I rated (on TripAdvisor) a restaurant we visited on the trip with a very high score because the food and the service were truly exceptional as compared to what I expected based on the general category of restaurant and its prices. Such top scores should be the exception, not the expected.
An establishment learns nothing about the customer experience if the only real choices for customer ratings are “perfection” or “failure.” Grade inflation has corrupted customer surveys in addition to school grades.Published in