Many companies employ consumer surveys these days. They are everywhere. They come in the form of a voice query after a service phone call, or in your email following a particular sale. The most ubiquitous, it seems, now come on the receipt from a purchase of some sort, all of them beckoning you to “Tell Us How We Did.” 

These tools can be useful for a company that is truly concerned about how they are treating their customers. Sometimes, however, we come across a survey or customer poll that makes one wonder, “why do they bother?” That happened to me this weekend.  

This past Saturday, we were busy with chores around the house, and I made a lunch run to a McDonald’s near my home. When I returned, I noticed the survey request near the top of my receipt. It immediately gave me pause, not for any reason other than the blatant attempt to skew the results. The receipt read, “Rate us “Highly Satisfied” & get a free Sundae, Pie, or Cone!”

So, if I say something really good about them, I get free stuff. But if I fail to do so, I get bupkis. Seems like a complete waste of time to me. If you really aren’t interested in the actual performance of your business, why even ask the question?

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered such manipulation over a fast-food survey. In 2014 I wrote about an experience at a Taco Bell, where such an incident occurred. As I wrote then:

[The manager] indicated that I could be eligible to win $500 from a random drawing if I complete the survey about my experience that night. Then he did something unexpected. He turned slightly, pointed at me with me two waste high “finger guns”, and said “I’ll give you a little clue. The better the things you say about your experience here, the better chance you’ll have of actually winning anything”.

It must be said. As disturbing as a blatant survey bribe can be, getting “finger gunned” in a fast-food establishment has to be the worst experience ever. But I digress…..

Receipt imageSo, what if those in the workers’ compensation industry were to employ the same tactic? Would our performance numbers improve? Perhaps the stub on a benefit check could offer a link to a survey, with the advice, “Rate us as “Excellent” and we will approve your next prescription refill.” Or, perhaps it could read, “Say nice things about us and your next check is less likely to get “lost.” Would that generate a true picture of our performance as an industry? 

Hardly. And it doesn’t work in any other industry, either.

It is quite simple, really. Don’t ask the question if you are not interested in a real and true answer. McDonald’s should be embarrassed to manage a survey in such a fashion. Clearly, they are not. As for my experience, this round wasn’t the best. I waited 15 minutes for my food, and when I got home, I discovered that the “Coke” I ordered was instead a “Mr. Pibb” (Blech. Only one of the most disgusting sodas ever invented). Maybe when those kids are making $15 an hour, they will be able to get my order right. The machines that replace them will likely be able to do so. 

I’m sorry, but this round they aren’t getting a “Highly Satisfied” out of me, even if a free cone is involved. If they’re not really interested in the answer, I am not really interested in providing it. 

Except for here in my blog, that is.

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