I noticed an interesting trend lately, namely requests for immediate, on the spot feedback from tech support or customer service reps when closing a call. Lately, whenever I call Dell Warranty Support for example, they ask me whether or not I was satisfied with their service at the end of the call. I asked around and it turns out it’s not just Dell that started doing this lately. Several people confirmed that they were asked the same question while talking to their credit card companies, banks and other tech support lines. It seems that someone has added this particular line to the call center play-book of support scenarios.
As you may or may not know – the skeleton copy of the scenario goes like this:
Customer: I have a problem with [A]
If [A] is:
- software related tell customer to reinstall software and close ticket
- hardware related try following steps to see if they solve the issue:
- Is the computer on?
- Reboot (into safe mode)
- Can you wiggle [A] around and re set it?
- Reinstall drivers for [A]
- Flash BIOS
If none of the above works tell the customer to run on-board diagnostics, come back with error code and hang up. If the customer has an error code, look it up and follow the instructions there.
If all else fails, replace [A]
All the rest is just company specific boilerplate verbiage and whatever the customer relations team deems necessary to be included. It seems that the demand for immediate feedback was tacked on fairly recently. Someone, somewhere decided that this was a grand idea, and it seems to have caught like a wildfire.
I do sort of understand where they are coming from. They want to have some sort of a metric which they can use to evaluate their support drones. The only way they can really improve their customer experience without actually spending money on training or hiring skilled workers is to fire the worst performing drones and reward the best performing ones. To do that, they need to monitor their work – preferably one that does not cost money or require any man/hours. They have been using online customer satisfaction surveys for a while now but no one fills these out. The only time I bother with these things is when I’m either really satisfied or really dissatisfied with the service.
I guess they have noticed that they only get one survey per few dozen calls, and that when they plot the results they get an upside down bell curve (ie. a lot of very satisfied and very unsatisfied customers and almost nothing in between). At least that’s what I would expect to see if I conducted such surveys. So they decided that it would be a good idea to put the customer on the spot and actually conduct a mini-survey at the end of the call.
Is this really the best way to get unbiased results? I’m not a psychologist but something tells me that they will still get very skewed results from this practice. For example, I find that I am far more likely to give them a positive rating in person than if I was filling a survey online. Why? Sometimes I don’t want to hurt that persons feelings. Yes, I know I’m talking to some stranger half a world away, and that I’m probably paying to much for their shitty support to put up with their crap, but still. Some of these folks seem like really nice people – it’s not their fault they were not properly trained, or really have no qualifications to do this job in the first place. I’m hardly ever fully satisfied with outsourced tech support. I’m almost always annoyed when the support person reads me instructions off their script shit. I might mention this stuff in an online survey, but when I’m actually on the phone with a live person I’ll usually say I was satisfied unless they have failed to solve my problem.
What do you think? Would you honestly evaluate the performance of a support drone when put on the spot like that? Or would you say you were satisfied to be nice? Or would you just say it to get off the phone – cause you know that they will have follow up questions if you say you were not happy with their service. Since your support ticked ought to be already closed by the time they ask you this question, there is no reason for you to stay on the line any longer and indulge them. Or are you one of these people who will give them negative reviews just for shits and giggles?