Shock 'em with action

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Things I Think
Things I Think

On a scale of A to 17, with one being “Always” and red being “Parsnips,” how would you rate your experience with customer satisfaction surveys? I'm sure most of you use them, though I haven't done a survey to back that up. 

I'm not here to question your motives. Hopefully you crave feedback from residents and family members like America craves a competitive Super Bowl, and the data you receive drives changes in your facility. But as a consumer in a manipulative, marketing-driven world of push polls and scams, please excuse my skepticism about surveys in general. 

That's because hardly a transaction goes by in daily life without some massive entity wondering by phone or email how I felt about it. Given the eroding customer service that's become the norm, it's hard to believe they actually care. Unfortunately, that becomes the context of your own well-intentioned attempts to discover what people really think, and I suspect affects not only response rates but also the time your residents and families are willing to invest in thoughtful feedback.

Recently, though, my survey cynicism took a direct hit from an unexpected source: a bank. One of the evil ones that almost destroyed the world. After enduring a series of unsatisfactory interactions, I got the usual generic email soliciting my feedback. This time I gave it to them, vigorously venting with no hope that anyone was actually listening. 

Barely a day later, I got a startling phone call. From the very agent I'd talked with last. With an actual answer to my question. Somehow, my concerns filtered through that faceless labyrinth, and after expecting nothing, I got everything I asked for. 

That's the best antidote to survey cynicism — shock your customers with action. With skepticism rampant and expectations low, prove them wrong by addressing concerns, fast and personally. Believe me, that's the last thing they'll be expecting.


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