Friday, April 25, 2014

Survey Spin - When Outstanding Really Means Average

Every once in awhile I receive an online survey and if not too lengthy usually answer them.  That's usually the end of it.  I have no idea what is done with the results but I've always assumed they take the information to find areas of weakness so it can be improved or determine where ones taste or interests lie.  Never ever have I had a follow up except a thank you for participating.

Until a few days ago.  I received a survey from my car manufacturer via the dealer I go to for service.  It was a series of questions on the service, cleanliness of the facility and the car upon return, etc.  You've all probably had them at one time or another.

It was a first, however, to receive a follow up, rather frantic phone call from the service manager who I dealt with asking what they could have done anything better so as to please me. Somewhat taken aback, I told him the service was fine. Well, he asked, why had I only checked average to all the questions?  What would it take for an "outstanding" response.

Something outstanding, said I.  The service was exactly what it should have been.  No better, no worse so I marked average.  I always do.  I don't tend to exaggerate that which I expect.

I was told that the manufacturer  demands better than average and if the criteria isn't met it means all sorts of training sessions, explanations and the like that with which the dealer obviously didn't want to be tainted.  Nor was it called for as far as I was concerned.  He went on to explain few people actually respond to their surveys, it's disheartening when those who do don't rate them higher than I did.

So here's my quandary. We're definitely on different planets here.  In the future should I join the majority and ignore the survey knowing it has to be skewed to be acceptable or go ahead and skew the answers against my own beliefs and answer as I know they prefer?

I honestly don't know which path I'll follow.  I do know that, in this case, the survey if answered truthfully isn't acceptable.

Must everything be spun?  Do I really have to say because they removed the protective mat they put on the floor of my car that the service was outstanding?  Maybe a free car wash and vacuuming every time I take it in, without an accompanying coupon, might get my attention.

But no.  The service was exactly as I expect from a service department.  No better.  No worse.  Average.

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