It was hard to miss the yellow hand-written sign posted directly above the cash register. “Chance to win 1 of 3 gift cards,” someone had written in green magic marker.
Three cards were in the offing, two $10 cards and a $5 card, and the sign’s author had detailed a two-step process to be entered in an in-store drawing:
“Step 1-Take online survey + rate highly satisfied before leaving the store.”
When performance metrics and financial bonuses are tied to survey scores, attempts to gain control can become extreme—even unethical. “I encountered a situation where there was an area manager who was taking receipts that he had not handed out to customers and was giving them to his buddies who were in his bowling league,” says Samuel Jones, CX Practitioner. “They were then taking the surveys online and giving top scores.”
Negative Impact to Customers—And the Business
Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP, PCM, and Chief Customer Officer at ClearAction Continuum, doesn’t mince words when asked how she feels about what some have called ‘score begging.’ “Asking customers to give a certain rating in surveys is a horrible practice,” she says. “It gives your surveys zero statistical validity, and therefore makes customers’ investment of time to participate a complete waste. It insults customers by implying they’re not able to make sound judgements and you’re not interested in their pure feedback.”
In addition to determining the root cause of customer issues and tying incentives to employee behaviors rather than customer outcomes, Thum says that CX professionals play a key role in affecting organizational culture change. “It will likely be a difficult conversation,” she says. “But you need to clarify the landscape for colleagues who think it’s a good idea to use these scores to get an honest reflection of customers’ actual experiences. Meanwhile, make sure your CX governance framework is strong with administrative policies surrounding customer surveys that include the notion of score begging.”
I didn’t enter the gift card drawing, but my conversations with my fellow CX professionals made clear that my experience was all-too common. Fortunately, there are strategies we can deploy to stop these behaviors within our companies.
I’d like to hear from you. What experiences have you had with score begging, either as a customer or within your organization? If from within, how did you combat the issue? Add your voice to the comments below.