As I continue to soak up the rays and soak up the rum in Miami, here is another guest post from reader Allan Christensen. Once again, someone sent me a message and it was too good for only my eyes. Thank you, Allan.
I wanted to take some time out of your day to vent to you about “Guest Surveys.”
More and more, we all have them on the bottom of every receipt. And upper management thinks that “guest surveys” are the best thing since sliced bread.
Nowadays, I can’t go anywhere without some poor person being forced to beg me to complete a survey. I go to Home Depot, the cashier hands me the receipt and highlights the chance to win $1000. I go to Walgreen’s, the cashier robotically asks for me to fill out a survey with a chance to win $1000. I understand that they are forced to do this because I could be a “secret shopper” and if they don’t ask me to fill out a survey then they could get a negative review and lose shifts or even worse – lose their job.
In the restaurant business, I find the “guest survey” to be an extra special type of disease…
First: our income depends on it. With most of the restaurant employees that I have surveyed, if you are not getting enough surveys then your shifts are cut. In my restaurant, we are expected to receive at least two surveys a week per server. This leads us to beg or bribe guests into filling out a survey. What upper management doesn’t understand is that most guests do not care to fill out a survey. Surveys are kind of like the common man’s yelp review – “I have an axe to grind so I am going to use this survey.” So, to get our regular happy guests to do a survey, you find yourself constantly begging or offering discounts on their tab if they will just fill out a survey for you. And, just my opinion, but is this solicited feedback the feedback that is being yearned for by the home office statisticians that live for this data??? I don’t believe so.
Second: guest surveys are only used as a negative reinforcement tool by upper management. I could receive 100 positive surveys and never hear a word from upper management. BUT, one negative comment and you would have thought I left the cover letter off of my T.P.S. report because I have to answer to Bill Lumbergh and 4 bosses about why one guest said I didn’t smile enough.
Lastly, restaurant chains always use an “all or nothing” grading scale. So, if I don’t get a perfect score then I get a ZERO. On a scale of 1 – 5 with 4 being “very good” and 5 being “excellent”, if the guest says I was “very good” then the guest said I was “dog shit.” Because if I am not “excellent” then I didn’t “wow” the guest. And, only a guest that has been “wow-ed” is a guest that I have made an impact on. Yet, my regular guests seemed to be “un-wow-ed” on a regular basis yet still come to visit me every week.
I feel trapped by guest surveys. I can’t just ignore them because then the only surveys I will receive will be from the wanna-be yelpers. So, I openly solicit and bribe my regulars to do surveys for me. I also complete surveys using my phone, my home computer, my Dad’s computer, my computer at work, etc, etc. Very shady as far as I am concerned but I feel I was forced into a corner and was not left many options.