Companies with lax financial oversight can wind up the victims of fraud. Companies which ignore the integrity of their customer service survey process also invite employees to game the system to meet their goals and earn bonuses.
This can quickly lead to a downward spiral. If some employees start manipulating the survey process, other employees will perceive this and start thinking such behavior is acceptable. Survey scores overall will go up (even though customer service may be getting worse), and management will be tempted to raise the bar. Eventually it may become impossible to meet customer service goals without cheating, and the entire process will have lost all credibility.
Think this doesn't happen? Consider these examples I personally experienced just in the past few weeks:
- A sign as I exited a home improvement store informing customers that "9 or 10 on the survey means we passed!" This primes customers to view 8 or lower as a failing score, and make it less likely they'll offer the feedback.
- A helpful cashier who pointed out the survey offer on my register tape and reminded me to take it. Naturally, they don't do this for the grumpy customers.
- A different helpful cashier in a different store who stapled a survey reminder card to my receipt. Again, they don't do this for everyone (I suppose I should be flattered that they think I'm a nice guy).
The solution is constant and vigilant oversight: just as auditing processes are designed knowing that people will be tempted to cook the books, customer feedback processes need to be reviewed with the understanding that employees may be under tremendous pressure to hit their goals.