Company Culture Customer Service Customer Survey

How Reliable Is Your Customer Survey Data?

I love charts, graphs and data.  I would much rather make decisions and focus efforts on facts, than instinct.  That’s why I value customer and employee surveys in addition to retention numbers.

And survey data is always factual right?

Most of the time…….but be aware of how your surveys are viewed (and discussed) by your team.

We know that the majority of people focus on what is measured.  That’s good!  But what happens to that data when employees start telling customers or staff how to rate them?

Not long ago, I had a great experience with a company that provides me with a personal service.  I loved the new customer service representative.  And, all was great, until the last 2 minutes!

What? Yes, until the service rep told me that I would be receiving a survey, and what he expected me to report.  Not what he hoped that he earned… but rather what he expected from me.  HAHA. I don’t remember his exact words (aka DEMANDS) but, they went against everything he worked so hard to earn. I never responded to the survey, not because he didn’t earn a good rating, but because he blew it so badly with his demand. I simply was not sure how to respond.

When employees – at any level –  feel so much pressure that they dictate how their customers and employees must respond to surveys, it may destroy the data integrity plus, it crushes their professional credibility.

So, do we stop the surveys?  NO!  Here are some helpful hints;

  • Be very clear of the purpose of these surveys with your team. (And, please don’t forget those that work remotely).


  • Celebrate accomplishments at every level. Not just the best.  A small move in the right direction provides for a powerful motivation opportunity.  Take it! That motivation can have more impact than many can imagine.


  • Help every level and every department in their growth, and make expectations realistic. E.g., If you expect the poorest performing group to match the highest performing group in a month, well they may revolt; give up; or become your next poison.


  • Discuss lessons learned and best practices.  Get your team excited about the possibilities. In fact, have them be a part of  creating change groups.  They can probably brainstorm better ideas from that data because they are often in the middle of the issues.


  • Transform lessons learned into daily business practices.  Processes that raise the bar.


  • Empower employees to find quick solutions to complaints that WOW the customer experience.  Make the scores easy to achieve.  I love Apple – not because they have a superior product but because every time I have a problem they WOW me with their service.  Get that?  When I have a PROBLEM with their equipment, I LOVE THEM!  And, I don’t have one apple product, I have an orchard!


  • Check what you expect. As ugly as audits sound, they are necessary. (Hiring people that share your values will reduce this problem, but maintaining clear non negotiables remains a priority).


  • Know when to include survey metrics in compensation programs. I know how tempting it is to quickly include them, but make sure you first get good & reliable data; and that the plan is motivating. And always use the data of which the position has contributing control.


Remember, Information is power, and people focus on what is measured.  Working with our heads stuck in the sand can’t be helpful to anyone. I strongly recommend surveys for all of my clients. Simply do so with effective questions and a culture that drives both improvement and data integrity.

When we’re obsessed with the plan, we miss all the opportunities that exist off the plan.”

-Simon Sinek


I would appreciate feedback on your survey work including how you keep integrity in your data.  If you are unable to respond to the post, please forward to  Thank you!


Parone Group works with executives and their teams to achieve organizational effectiveness.  Do you meet your goals?  Do you procrastinate or “settle”? Are you a high achiever that needs some clarity or focus? Does your team share your values? Do they meet your expectations?

We have a 6 step proprietary process to problem solve the why, and then fill the missing gaps.

If your customers can’t or don’t articulate an extraordinary answer to WHY CHOOSE YOU, then call us.  We create immense value from the inside out – at every level of the organization.  Irma Parone, 954-464-6689,  Website