Were You Satisfied with my Service

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?

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6 Responses to Were You Satisfied with my Service

  1. Nathan UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I remember calling customer service for something or other and after the call I was transferred to an automated system that asked me whether I was satisfied or not, which made it a lot easier to be candid. The system asked me a couple questions and then let me say whatever I wanted (presumably it recorded it, though maybe it just threw it away) at the end.

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  2. Zel FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I didn’t see much of these on-the-spot reviews, at best I received e-mails asking to fill online forms from my ISP, a frequent recipient of my hotline calls. Considering how I react to phone ads/sales (I try politely to say I’m not interested, listen to the 5mn speech, repeat from the beginning n times until finally the caller gives up…), I would probably be unable to say something negative directly to the person concerned, as they at least try to solve the issue. Strangely, I don’t have issues pointing out what I think is wrong directly to people I know, but I have some kind of block that prevents me from criticizing people I don’t. I’d probably just say I’m satisfied to get off the phone.

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  3. Rob UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I usually just tell them I’m not interested in taking a survey and end the call.

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  4. Ajzimm3rman UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I think the best balance always happens with a person, on the phone.
    So then you don’t have to avoid their gaze when glazing over negative overview. ;)

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  5. Kevin Benko UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    Going off on a tangent, here:

    Back during the DotCom boom, I worked for $BIG_CORPORATE_IT_COMPANY where our training center was receiving feedback for external courses. During meetings, my manager, whom I referred to as The Evil Queen Of Darkness, was always focusing on positive feedback numbers.

    I would always ask what, exactly, the negative feedback was.
    Negative feedback has a higher probability of being honest.

    If someone says “I like what you did to your hair,” how sure are you that they are being honest? Insincere compliments seem to be an American neurosis [yes, I was born and raised in the USA]

    If someone tells me that my hair looks a bit ratty… I look in the mirror and I see that my hair looks like crap. Unless someone is being mean, negative feedback, in my experience, seems to have a greater probability of being honest.

    Just my bitter, twisted, jaded, and disaffected opinion….

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  6. Me Google Chrome Windows says:

    “Too much”. Also, it does piss one off. It surprises me how long this has lasted, since you’d expect large enough a number of people making them cry.

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