Customer satisfaction surveys? I’d give them nought out of 10

Plus: Let's have a Protest Weekend so everyone can get it over and done with

Share

When I took the car in for servicing recently, the receptionist gave me the name and card of my link person for the day.

Not the actual mechanic, you understand, but a go-between who would pass on any concerns and call me when the car was ready. The receptionist was keen that I hang around to meet her, or at least talk to her on the phone. But as her line was engaged, I was allowed just to fill in the form and leave.

When I returned to collect the car, I was ushered to the waiting area and, in the fullness of time, my go-between called my name, shook my hand and accompanied me to the car. She was very concerned that I was happy with everything – by which she clearly meant not the state of the car (which I hadn’t yet driven, post-service), but with her own part in my day. As I settled behind the wheel, she again probed my contentment level. She said I would probably receive a call asking about my “experience” and possibly an emailed survey. I should also know that any mark below a nine (out of 10) was considered inadequate. Aha! 

The next working day, I received a follow-up call, asking about my “experience”, alerting me to the emailed appraisal and advising me, again, that anything below a nine would be considered negative. I recalled then that the adviser, when we first took out the lease, had said something similar. In fact, I think he actually filled in the form for us, checking that it was OK to mark a nine or a 10 for each sub-section.

The point is that it really wasn’t. The whole process had taken an age because of some computer interface problem, but that wasn’t really his fault, so he got his grades – plus, of course, how can you mark someone down in person? At least an emailed form is impersonal – until, that is, someone hints at the appalling insult implied by anything below nine. I just wonder how much use such an appraisal process really is. Does it tell the company anything about the customer’s actual view, or does it rather convey how reluctant your average British customer is to offend?

Disclosure: a couple of years ago, without any pep talk about nines and tens, I had awarded some fours, after being kept waiting and repeatedly passed over as I sat in the coffee area. A month or so later, a series of frantic phone calls made clear that this “anomalous” grade had provoked something akin to a regional-level inquiry as to what could possibly have gone so wrong. So I told them. The way things currently work, no one would ever know. 

All together now, let’s protest!

It was a busy weekend in Westminster, as I’m sure you know. The British National Party, wanting to protest against the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, had been redirected from Woolwich to Whitehall, and the anti-fascists were out in force to meet them – along with phalanxes of police to keep the two ideological armies apart. But they didn’t have the demo-field to themselves. Soon after leaving home to take a voyeuristic sniff of the combative air, I came across three bike-borne badgers looking for their protest – and did my civic duty by pointing them towards St James’s Park.

On my own way to gauge the capital’s temporary badger population, I passed a smaller, but more colourful, anti-austerity demo (“F*ck the troika”) outside the Treasury, and the Sikhs, who have become almost a fixture, waving their placards opposite Downing Street. There were some Ethiopians out, too, but I couldn’t figure out their cause. All of which made me wonder whether we shouldn’t designate one weekend a year an all-purpose protest day. After all, with the exception of the BNP and the anti-fascists, everyone kept themselves cheerfully to themselves.

m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
 

Beware of the jovial buffoon who picks fights overseas

Boyd Tonkin
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect