Survey: corporate execs vastly overestimate customers' satisfaction

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Ugh when it takes actual effort to resolve some real issue there is no substitute for a well trained, patient, actual human being. Just pay them well enough to do the job and accept that that is part of the fucking cost of business.


Or they try to rules-lawyer it. “You can’t be unhappy we use your data because you consented”. The Zucks of the world think you need to “opt-out” of their fingering of your data - if you don’t “say no” they think they can do as they please.

And if you change your mind? “Oh honey you’re just being emotional”

Recall the Chrome drama over mandatory sign ins if you visit gmail in Chrome. They basically responded that concerns were not valid because they were misunderstanding the technical details - ignoring that users were worried more changes could come and that the decision showed a culture of disregard


I’m a satisfied customer if I don’t have to use any of those services.


I work for a reseller in the London Media & Entertainment sector as a support engineer, and one of the manufacturers we deal with has software licensing so bad that customers frequently can’t activate the product they’ve just bought.
Then on top of that, it can take the manufacturer’s outsourced, overseas support departments a day to meaningfully respond.

All this boils down to users regularly not being able to use the product they’ve just bought until a day or more later.

None of this is mentioned in any of the promotional material, so customers aren’t warned that they may have to wait to work.
It’s a fucking atrocious state of affairs, and it’s been driven by said manufacturer gradually downsizing their braintrust over the past 10 years.

On top of that, they’ve laughably just moved to an Agile development platform with the intention of offering more meaningful updates more regularly, when in reality what the end user gets are monthly warnings not to use the latest version of software because there’s a critical bug in it they missed.

Clownshoes, the lot of them.


Most corporations are astonishingly disinterested in how happy their customers are. That’s why companies like Apple, which actually command a huge amount of customer loyalty, and do a lot of work to keep that loyalty high, are treated as incomprehensible by the business and tech press.

This shit isn’t rocket science: happy customers are likely to be loyal repeat customers. The more loyal repeat customers you have, the healthier your business is, long term. But you look at how most companies behave and you’d think it was esoteric occult knowledge.


Why are “average” and “poor” assumed to be mutually exclusive?


I think my mega corp would be thrilled if they could do away with both customers and employees.


The list didn’t include old-school snail mail. I recently had cause to send a formal letter to Home Depot regarding their inability to fill three separate orders I placed with them this summer. We’ll see if anything comes of it, but I’m dubious.


Two pet peeves:

  1. IVR HELL. This is where you get 5 levels down in a phone menu before you get an option to just talk with someone. And then THEY tell you you need to call another number to do what you want to do.

  2. Cable HELL. This is where you can add products to your heart’s content at their web site, but can’t scale back to an internet only plan without calling them and going through an exercise much like buying a car wherein the phone agent says, “Let me talk to my manager and see what kind of deal I can get for you to keep TV and phone.” I hate it.


I used to work for a large international Corp. Plants were being surveyed for employee satisfaction and promotion support…for marketing, accountability, and transparency purposes. Some plants were disqualified because they were going through down-sizing and going-lean. The report showed 92% satisfaction rating. Out of 32 plants world-wide, only 10 qualified to answer the survey…the other 22 were disqualified, but that wasn’t mentioned in the report. And the report was released to stock holders, investors, and the general public.

CEO’s only want to hear what THEY WANT TO HEAR.


Oh, I need to transfer you over to our retention specialist before we can discontinue your service.

(scratchy music plays)
Your call is very important to us, please remain on the line, the estimated wait time is…47 minutes.


Recently went through a phone chat-bot for Comcast. Just started pounding keys until they put me on the phone with a person. She was extremely professional and competent, and we were able to sort thought two bad cable connections in a few minutes.

She was obligated to try to sell me on TeeVee. I’ve found that “Cable television makes me homicidal” helps to speed you through that.


Sounds like a currently failing CEO that still gets too much attention: “People come up to me all the time and tell me that I’m doing the best job!” “We have tremendous support.” “They were ripping us off, and I alone fixed it.” Etc.


100% this. One of the ways this happens: most humans are pretty nice most of the time; in my experience most of the companies’ own surveys ask about the person you talked to and how they did, more than about the resolution itself; they often make sure you know that they’re evaluated in such a way that any customer service rep who doesn’t hit some ridiculously high average score gets penalized one way or another; and you know even if they want to help there are rules that keep them from doing so. So of course the scores managers see are high - no one wants to get a rep fired or lose pay for following rules they don’t have a say in.


Instead, execs focus on cutting staff to increase profits because they really don’t care if customers are satisfied. As the problem becomes more widespread, most customers can’t even find alternatives where they get a better experience.


Pretty much anything related to labor is seen as the most fungible part of the cost of doing business, the part you can MOST undercut when you can’t cut elsewhere. Strangely, management, especially C-levels, are never seen in that way. Strange that, huh.


The study …predicts that the customer satisfaction gap could be bridged with chatbots…

It never occurred to anybody to bridge the gap from the other side… by teaching executives to listen. Naw, who am I kidding?


This may be because most CEO’s are men. As you could change “corporate execs” to “husbands”, and “customers” to “wives”, and get virtually the same results.

Customer satisfaction surveys can be fun. I’m not kidding.

One evening, many years back, I received a very interesting phone call from a car dealership, they attempting to gauge my level of satisfaction on the very day that I had paid them a visit – and the person who called me was the fleet manager (call him FM) who I had dealt with on the day of my visit. Stick with me; here’s my story.

The day before my visit, I was faxed an out-the-door price quote from the dealership’s FM, and with a “come right on over… the car is yours” thrown in. (Right.) Anyway, I scooted on over to the dealership, got shown the car by the FM, then – just as we’re ready to get down to the paperwork – he “reluctantly” hit me with the news that someone else was interested in “my” car and that the other party was willing to pay more. Here. We. Go. Whether what he said was true or not didn’t matter to me since I had quotes from three other dealerships (just in case), so I could afford to (and did!) loudly throw out declarations of having been gypped and having my time wasted… and all while I raucously – derisively!! – laughed as I stomped past the dealership’s other offices on the way out. It felt great. And it felt even better that afternoon when my next stop at one of my alternates got me the car I wanted and with zero fuss; that whole transaction took less than 1/2 hour.

Back to the customer survey: So, the FM called me. I could have gone one way or the other with my response. I knew he could not have been grading himself… that (given my loud performance at his dealership)… someone else must have been listening in on our phone call, so I told him that I was grateful to him for sort of steering me to one of his competitors (I named the dealership), that he was responsible for getting me hooked up with a competitor who I would deal with from then on and who I would recommend to all my friends. I kept thanking him and mentioning how great that other dealership was. Along the way he was trying to end the phone call with “got enough information… thank you” but I just kept thanking him. He blurted out a final thanks then hung up. I wouldn’t like anyone hanging up on me, but that one felt sweet.

Customer surveys. Bring 'em on.