Saturday, September 17, 2011

Retail Surveys are job security!

In the current economy, almost every retailer out there has an online survey on the receipt asking for your feedback about your shopping experience.  Not many people realize how much an employee's job depends on customers filling out those surveys.

I've worked for GameStop for the past three years.  During that time, I've had nary a blemish on my employment record.  At least, until today.  My manager sat down with me and told me that my "Net Promoter" score, or the percentage of surveys filled out compared to the number of transactions I do was low enough that, even though I tell every customer, warranted writing me up over it.  This came from his district manager, whom I also know personally.  My manager has seen me tell every customer, so he knows I'm telling my customers, regulars and non-regulars alike.  He's on my side in this.  But since this is coming from further up the management chain, I'm now in (slightly) troubled standing. Thankfully, a few of my regular patrons were in the store while I was working, and agreed to help boost my survey scores for me.  So I'm not terribly worried about losing my job just yet.

These things are everywhere!

This rant is not meant to appear like I'm venting frustration.  In all honesty, I'm not that worried about it.  What got me really thinking was when I got home and talked to my mom about it.  She mentioned that she sees those surveys on just about every receipt, but consistently forgets to do them.  Which got me thinking about surveys at prior places of employment.  Back when I worked at Target in the Food court, anything less than a perfect 4 could be grounds for an employee review/coaching.  Even a 3.5 out of 4 average customer satisfaction was unacceptable.  This was one thing that (thankfully) I never had to deal with.  Some retailers take this very seriously.

While researching a seller on ebay, one buyer left a 4/5 feedback, and said he was very satisfied with the purchase and transaction.  The seller commented on the feedback, asking what s/he could do to make the next experience a 5/5.  Part of the problem is the folks notion that a perfect score is standard.  Anything less indicates something lacking, be it customer service, prices, or whatever.  This on its own is not a bad thing.  The problem comes when you have someone who, like myself believes that humanity is flawed and perfection is a highly difficult goal.  These are the people that put a 9/10 or a 4/5 on a survey when they were satisfied with the overall performance of the employee.  This, when compounded by multiple people giving the same feedback, can reflect negatively on an employee's record.  This effect is compounded when you have individual employee tracking.  All of a sudden, this store favorite that has legions of regular patrons, can find himself without work through no fault of his own.

Don't worry, I won't be reaching this point anytime soon...  

So, I'll finish this off.  What can you, the reader, do to fix this?  Fill out those surveys.  The number one reason I hear why people don't do them is that they forget.  This is understandable.  However, if you find someone you like, someone who gets the job done and makes your day, not filling out those surveys is a slap in the face and does this stellar individual a disservice.  The management won't know this guy making minimum wage is a personal favorite without your input.  Give the little guy a break.

The second reason is that some people don't want to give out their personal information.  Big Brother type concerns.  To me, this is utter bulls**t.  If you're filling out a survey from a retail location, no brick and mortar company in their right mind would sell your data to a shady company.  It's a PR nightmare.  It simply doesn't happen.  Secondly, those days of retail being impersonal, monolithic structures that never change are long gone.  Retail seeks to be more personable, and repeat business is the lifeblood of brick and mortar stores now.  If you're going to be back, how can we (the retailer/company you bought stuff from) make your future shopping experiences better?  If you're not, why not?  What went wrong? What should be fixed?  I've always felt that I should be finding ways to improve.  When I don't hear anything positive or negative, I assume that I'm doing everything right and shouldn't change.  Feedback is the primary way I determine my performance.  Why won't you help me help you?  I can understand the desire for privacy, but even that argument can be rendered invalid.  When you check the box saying you don't want to be contacted about special offers, and you don't want any newsletters, any upstanding company is legally obligated to honor that request.  Again, not honoring that request is another PR nightmare.  All it takes is one upset customer with a respectable following and there's an angry crowd at the corporate headquarters ready to "lynch" anyone they get.  Nobody in their right mind would take that kind of risk.

I already have a full time job outside of GameStop.  I could care less about the money.  I work at my store because I like talking to people about games, I bring value to the company, and the regular patrons that I talk to on a regular basis just wouldn't like the place without me. (okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement...)  But if people knew how much retail relies on customer surveys, they'd be giving feedback a lot more often.  Fill out those surveys; that clerk's job just might depend on it.


Michael said...

Well that sucks. I generally do surveys for those types of experiences 4/5 times. I like my feedback counting for something important.

ddrfr33k said...

And for that, I thank you. You would be amazed how many people don't fill out the surveys.

Anonymous said...

I have not and never will fill out one of these survey's. I don't like the way they use it to judge their employees and I will not facilitate the system.

ddrfr33k said...

And that's the problem, Mr./Ms. Anonymous. Over the course of eight months, only 15 customers filled out surveys. From a statistical analysis standpoint, this is not a valid research sample. Unless everyone posts a perfect 10/5/A+, the overall results are skewed to the point where someone could lose their job over it. If you like the person who helped you, you really do owe it to that person to fill out a survey for them.

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