Why Do Companies Spoil Good Experiences With Customer Surveys?

surveyIn a recent training session I was hosting, one of the delegates talked about her experience with a car dealership. She said that she had bought her car through the dealership and was very happy with the service she got. She also continued to use the dealership for regular maintenance on her vehicle and every time she picked up her car, she let the dealership know at the time she picked up the car how pleased she was with the services provided, as the car was not only serviced, but also cleaned and polished and ready when she arrived.

A few days later, and despite having let the dealership know how pleased she was with the service, a customer satisfaction survey form arrived in the mail. The format of the survey was such that the majority of questions were about the dealership, about 20 questions, with only a couple of questions toward the bottom of the survey dedicated to issues customers are concerned with.

Having told the dealership how pleased she was at the time the car was picked up, she chose to ignore this survey form and filed it in the bin. Having not returned the first survey form, several days later she received a letter stating that the previous survey had not been returned and she received another survey form. Once again, she ignored this form for the same reasons. Another week passed and in the mail she received another letter and another survey, this time from the car manufacturer asking about her customer satisfaction.

So the question is, why do companies spoil good experiences with customer surveys?

In another example, I recently needed to fly to Melbourne for business. In order to find the best deal for the hotel, I went to and found the best value deal through a third party site. They were by far and away the cheapest and with some trepidation, I made the booking. To my surprise, when I turned up at the hotel I had no problems whatsoever and the hotel was very good. I told the staff at checkout that I had had a good stay and was pleased with the customer service they provided.

The day after I checked out, I received an email with a request to complete a “Guest Satisfaction Survey” and a note from the CEO of the hotel group which I filed in my email trash. The following day I received an email from the third party website I booked the hotel through, advising that I had been registered for their rewards program even though I did not opt-in for this service. The following day I was sent another email from this third party website asking me to comment on my stay at the hotel, once again I deleted the email. The following day I received another email directly from the hotel asking me to complete the same “Guest Satisfaction Survey”. The following day I received another email once again advising me that I had been registered for the third party website’s rewards program. That’s five annoying emails which have detracted from a good experience.

So, why do companies spoil the customer experience by repeatedly bombarding customers with mail/email survey requests. If customer satisfaction and customer feedback is so important, companies should implement systems to capture this information wherever and whenever customers provide it to them, not just when it is convenient for the company to receive it.

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