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How often do we come to the final moments of a good brand experience only to receive a mini lecture on how to fill in the satisfaction survey?

My most recent was at the very end of the process of buying and then picking up a new car, where I was informed that I should pay attention to the satisfaction survey questions. "They" had recently added an ‘extremely satisfied’ box to tick over and above the normal ‘very satisfied’ and if I ticking the later it would impact the salesperson’s bonus. So it appears that NPS is in danger of becoming a gratuity rather than a useful piece of unbiased and genuine feedback focused on improving the experience for us and not the experience team.

I would say that I had a good experience, with some nice little touches, but whether I would describe it as extremely satisfying I am not sure, after all we all have our own references for what excellent looks and feels like. I recently had what I would describe as a quite brilliant, even amazing, customer experience as a guest of two days golf at Loch Lomond Golf Club. Such attention to detail and invisible brilliance define excellence for me and has become my personal benchmark of the concept for excellence.

So relative to that benchmark, how do I rate my car buying experience? It was efficient and friendly (at times a little over friendly as it appears I have a new best friend) but then I would expect that when paying that much money and with someone looking to sell me my next car. So good to very good.

I was talking to a colleague on this and he, as an expert in these things, told me a number of stories of companies who attempt to manipulate Trip Advisor scores, more as a part of their communication strategy rather than genuine interest in the customer’s opinion to improve their business.

So customer satisfaction feedback and NPS are in danger of evolving from a measurement tool designed as and aid to help improve the experience and drive loyalty and advocacy to becoming part of the internal reward and recognition process.

Naturally brilliant customer experiences are irresistible and rare, but they are our benchmarks. The very least we have been lead to expect is good to very good, and most companies nowadays fall into these categories to be fair.

But by allowing the experience delivery teams to try to manipulate the figures for their own needs means that we are being asked to discuss their “satisfaction” with our marking process rather than our genuine feelings about the brand experience.

Never forget that the insides of businesses always leak out – the invisibly brilliant celebrate this, the unaligned don’t.

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