Give me feedback please – Just don’t tell the truth

I recently had some work done on my car. And I was waiting for the shuttle driver I observed a sales associate briefing her customer on the survey they were going to receive from the dealership. She was insistent that they really cared about the service the delivered and hat the survey was important. BUT, she said, “If you feel that there was anything about your experience that was less than a 10 it is better for me if you don’t submit the survey. Even if it was someone else in the dealership as the survey affect my compensation”.

Photo Nicholas Echkart –via Flickr –

Why do organizations ask for feedback? In most cases because they want to improve and they want to calibrate their efforts to satisfying their customers an earning loyalty. Do you think this organization is getting good accurate feedback that will allow them to target their efforts?

I understand the desire of the company to have their team performing to a ten. We all want our people performing to their best. But, when you say you must get a ten or else, then people will skew their efforts to ensure you only see a ten regardless. And then we miss the opportunity to get accurate information that will allow us to accurately serve our customers as they want to be served.

Contrast this to the organizations studied in the book “An Everyone Culture” by Robert Kagen and Lisa Lahey. They review several companies that they identify as “Deliberately Developmental Organizations”. In one organization, Bridgewater Capital, they maintain an issue log. Anytime there is a mistake, an error or a miss it gets logged. In fact it is encouraged. AND the perpetrator of the error has to debrief what they’ve learned. This needs emphasis – This is encouraged and rewarded.

If however the issue is not logged there are consequences.  In other words, they are looking for the mistakes because they know they are going to occur. And they know that by bringing deliberate awareness and attention to the mistakes they can address them.

When organization look at results and dictate results without slowing down to identify the actions that lead to results they often miss. When organizations demand certain level of service but don’t slow down to examine “how” that level of service is attained and where they might be missing the mark. They will lose customers.

So my experience was I waited over two hours for the courtesy shuttle, my service technician called and told me my car was ready and then could not find the paperwork. And it felt like at least a quarter of the staff I observed were going through the motions as opposed to genuinely interacting and serving the customer.

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