No more surveys! You already know the answer…

While traveling last week I received three surveys from servers in three different restaurants – the kinds that ask us to go online, enter a number, receive a discount coupon for a next visit, and even win a prize. I also received email surveys from five hotels along the way.

That doesn’t include the several that popped up after I made online purchases prior to Survey13going on the trip. One survey asked about my experience visiting their website. Well, not only didn’t I buy, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I didn’t feel it was my responsibility to tell them what was wrong or how to fix it. So, I didn’t respond.

The way I see it, a business shouldn’t have to ask my opinion as to how they’re doing. If they’re alert… if they’re really paying attention… they know if I’m happy or if I’ve been disappointed.

One clue to my happiness is the size of the tip I leave following a meal in a restaurant. Another is how many times I return to the store or website to spend more money.

Always, the survey I like the best is when someone takes the time to look me straight in the eye, smile and, knowing quite well that they did perform masterfully, asks: “Was everything to your complete satisfaction?” And when I smile back and say, “Absolutely,” they know they received my highest score. So, as I see it, there’s only one question that ever needs to be asked.

And if they see anything less than a big happy smiley face and hear an enthusiastic “YES,” they need to probe and do whatever it takes… not only to get you to return… but to do it in such a way that you want to tell your friends and colleagues about how great they are to do business with.

The sad thing is that I sometimes wonder if businesses really want to know how well or poorly they did. After all, if you say you’re unhappy, they’re pretty much obligated to do something to fix it and make it right. These days, doing something could cost them more than losing you as a customer.

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