Customer Service

Measuring Customer Service

Today it seems like everyone, but everyone, is trying to measure customer service levels. Businesses of all kinds collect feedback through surveys and questionnaires.

Go to the bank, get an email asking about your experience. Call the phone company, get a survey text message. Rent a car, they’ll ask you 50 questions about the transaction. Buy a cup of coffee and look at the receipt, you’ll be invited to visit them on line and give feedback on how it all worked out for you.

It is an admirable and a good thing that providers of goods and services are actively listening to their customers and soliciting feedback, but some times it goes to absurd levels.


Recently I visited the dentist for a routine checkup and waiting for me on my laptop as soon as I got home was a single question customer service survey from a provider that my dentist’s office had engaged to measure their customer service. The single question they asked was

“Did you enjoy your visit to Dr. P’s office”, “Please comment”.

I responded, “No, you morons, this was a visit to the DENTIST. Who in their right mind enjoys a visit to the dentist?”

Measuring customer satisfaction or customer service has become so formulaic and bureaucratic as to become almost meaningless. We humans have a need to measure everything in an effort to understand, as objectively as possible how successful or not we are.

It’s About Building Community 

But successful customer engagement is really hard to quantify. It’s more like Supreme Court Potter Stewart’s statement in a 1964 ruling, “I know it when I see it”. That was the best a supreme court justice could do in that particular case.

It’s about community, engagement, personal connections. Store employees and the customers who walk in the door form a connection and have a culture, even if it’s only for a brief period of time. It includes body language, eye contact and the general karma and feel of a place.

That’s why the First Law of Retail is “People First”. You have to get that right in order for success to follow. This applies equally to a department store, a dentist’s office, an ecommerce call center or even, or maybe especially a church.

Learn more about retail in my soon-to-be-released book, The Five Laws of Retail From di Medicis to Macy’s. Sign up to follow my blogs and to be notified when the book is available.

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