Recently, made a major purchase.

The brand and company are unnamed to protect the guilty.

The initial sales experience was great. The follow-through was pathetic, quite frankly. And, the personnel involved knew it. No real empathy or apology. Just routed me along the way. And, no manager stepped up to even introduce themself and see if there was an issue that could solve.

But, here is the real kicker. They employ a multi-faceted customer response program. I received an initial mail piece. On a scale of 1 – 10, gave them a 5. A losing score by any standard. Received about a week later, an email asking me to do another survey. This online survey had literally a 100 questions. They didn’t ask, but I would have given this “customer satisfaction” survey a 1 (lowest score). Does it really take a hundred questions to figure out what I thought of the experience?

Meanwhile, I’m noticing a get a long-distance call about the same time late every afternoon. They never leave a message. Finally, I happen to be available and answer it one afternoon. “Uh, this is Mary from (manufacturer). We would like to ask you a few questions about your recent purchase. It will take about 10 minutes.” Sorry, I’ve responded to all the surveys I care to.

Moral to the story:

1. A customer satisfaction survey is 3 to 5 questions. No more.

2. If you are going to do a survey, then have a game plan to follow up on it.

3. If your goal is “checking up on your employees and retailers” then follow the above scenario. If your goal is to turn customers to zealots, then make such surveys the beginning of a satisfaction program that is not delegated to phone operators … and gets sales managers out of their back-rooms and engaged with customers.