I was asked “Why?” when I called the cable provider to cancel. I was asked “Why?” when I drove to the service center to return my cable box. I was asked “Why?” again via a customer service automated phone survey two days after my trip to the service center.
Today, I was phoned by a real person employed by a survey company hired by my former cable provider to again answer the question “Why?” did I cancel my cable. Now, in every instance I was asked additional questions beyond the initial “Why?” While in my first encounter I was asked only about five questions, by today the interview script had swelled to at least 20 questions. Although the repetitiveness of the “Why?” question remained, it ceased to be the predominant reason for the surveys. Instead, “what was your experience with the [most recent] service representative?” had become the real focus.
Now, of course it is a pretense to be asked about my (non)use of a service as a guise to collect feedback on a customer service representative interaction. But this was getting silly—every time they engaged me, they had to re-engage me to inquire about my most recent experience with them!
So, all you customer service folks who value the collection of feedback for your representatives, PLEASE consider what it does to the customers whom you’ve ensnared in a Mobius loop!
But that is just an aside…the purpose of this blog is to tell you what happened after I talked to the person today. She was actually amazed that I had taken the call (between bites of my lunch, but she didn’t know that). After the twentieth question, she summed up with: “Would you mind responding to one more call? My supervisor may call you to be sure that I actually had conducted this interview.”
Wow. Ken Blanchard has built his company espousing the value of catching people doing things right. This was exactly the opposite!
So here are some questions I offer for your consideration:
- In your communications, are you treating the other person as a data mine?
- How would it differ if you treated her or him as a real person?
- Are you clear in what you are seeking?
- Are you focused on what is working well?
- Are you building trust, or playing “gothcha!” with your questions?
- Are you truly sharing feedback, or are you manipulating one circumstance to justify questions for another circumstance?
- Do you mean it when you say “thank you” to the other?
And trust me, I won’t have your supervisor follow up on whether you answered the above questions or not!