April 14, 2007 by Colin
“The most important phase of the communications survey is the evaluation phase.” Ever heard that? You have, at least from your boss during the annual performance review. Or from a media monitoring vendor making a pitch.
Of course, every communicator is painfully aware of the weaknesses of common evaluation methods.
- Focus Groups? Easily railroaded by dominant personalities. Undermined by poor moderators. Doomed to failure by moderator’s guides developed by committee.
- Telephone Surveys? Weakened by dwindling response rates. Limited by time. Stupid caller ID!
- Advertising Equivalency Value? Don’t get me started on this voodoo economics!
- Media Analysis? How often does the analysis relate your campaign to the paralell activities of your competitors? The analysis is also naturally coloured by the education and cultural upbringing of the analyst.
- Direct Response Cards? Favoured by the already disappointed and the optimistic freeloader. As one comedian once said “I have a business card. It says ‘Mitch Hedberg, Possible Lunch Winner’.”
Sure. I’m exaggerating. I’m overlooking the benefits that can be found in each approach.
But everyone can relate to MRad’s “Don’t Coach Me On How to Answer Your Stupid Survey.” His VW dealer suggested how MRad should fill out his customer satisfaction survey, so the dealership could keep their company’s high performance rating.
The problem with this approach? By suggesting how to undermine the survey process, the dealer is undermining the customer’s confidence in the “five star rating,” the “certified service,” the “top customer service award” – all the crap that convinced the customer (who’s sitting RIGHT THERE, let’s remember) that this particular dealership wasn’t out to screw him.
Naturally, the dealership wants to make sure you leave a happy customer. There’s even some value, given the emphasis put on quality service by dealer groups, manufacturers and ratings groups, to making sure customers don’t leave with hidden grudges or issues.
But when you influence survey results with customers by drawing the link between their ratings and your pay package, you render the survey nearly useless.
And you weaken their confidence in your actual commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.
[tags] survey, survey technique, auto dealer, customer satisfaction [/tags]