How to ruin getting useful feedback on customer service

March 9, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog

Last week I got great customer service. So great I don’t mind sharing here that at the Staples on Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street there is a tech named Genghis — yes, that’s his name — who knows cell phones better than anyone I’ve met. He treated me friendly, gave my project his full attention, and did the best job I could imagine. I would recommend him to anyone with cell phone problems. I was happy to pay for his time.

I’ll add that if you know me enough, you know I don’t like box stores and national chains that I think decrease the variety of an economic system, which I think decreases the system’s resilience. So for me to promote such a store means I liked the service that much more. His managers were helpful too, but mainly by giving him space to work on my problem.

Readers may recall I gave a positive review for a flight attendant who made a long flight easier for me a few months ago. I wanted to give Genghis a positive review too so at the checkout I asked how to give him that review so it might help him get promoted or a raise or something like that and the store could use the information to improve other staff’s training or bring in new sales. The person pointed out a web page on the receipt where I could give feedback on my experience.

Over the weekend I went to that page. It had a few questions at first that weren’t exactly related to what I wanted to say, but I filled them out. Then I got to a page with a textbox I filled with a review of my experience.

Mission accomplished, or so I thought.

The page had no “done” option. I had to keep filling out questions to get his review in. After about five minutes I saw the pattern. The questions stopped being about how to improve their service and started being about two main things — asking if I knew about different services they offer and finding out things about me to help market to me better.

I’m not sure that was that page’s goal, but that’s what it felt like to me. So I stopped filling it out. I had no idea how much longer I’d have to keep reading veiled ads and sharing information I didn’t want to share. I’ll still figure out how to pass on my review because Genghis helped me so much, but I’m not doing it that way. I don’t need more marketing coming my way.

I should also note that filling out that survey gives you a chance to win a $5,000 award, which, I guess, helps motivate people to get their veiled advertising and share information Staples can market with, but it decreases the store’s ability to get useful personal information from customers who care.

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