Is anyone else besides me experiencing "survey exhaustion?"
These days, it seems like more and more companies are looking for an excuse to obtain my email address somewhere along the transaction process. Presumably it's because they want to help me out by signing me up for some sort of loyalty or rewards plan, but in the past I always saw through that facade by assuming it was because they wanted to, well, send me marketing emails. And I was even okay with that to some degree. After all, I do marketing for a living and I understand that unwanted emails is sort of a necessary evil.
Turns out though, it's not even that. Turns out, their main goal doesn't seem to be to market to me, or give me rewards, or even thank me for my business.
No, they apparently just want to survey me.
Sometimes I'm barely out the door or off the website before my phone buzzes and I look down at my gmail to see a customer experience survey from the company I've just done business with two seconds before.
But it's not just after a long, successful transaction. You'd think it would be, but apparently some of these companies have bots or programs set to shoot out one of the darned things every time a customer touches the company in any way.
You can't even call or email to ask a basic question without being asked to complete a survey, and sometimes the issue isn't even resolved yet. I've called companies to report a problem, ended up with no resolution yet but an expectation of one, then before I've even hit the 'end call' button my email pops up with their ridiculous survey asking how they did solving the problem. Seriously?
And when you do delete them, they keep sending them, over and over again. Apparently bytes, unlike stamps, are free.
So yeah, I'm pretty much to the point of deleting every stinking survey I get, even if I have to delete the same freaking one ten times.
But, as you may have guessed, there's a reason for the madness, if not an effective method. In an effort to gain an edge over their increasingly numerous competitors, companies are, as awkward and annoying as it is, trying through surveys to harness the one thing they have at their disposal, their immediate customer base.
Which brings us to the staffing world, and the hypocrite I admit I am for having griped about surveys for the entirety of this piece only to now brazenly admit that I actually assist in the surveying of our own staffing agency's clients.
In our defense, we don't send them a survey every time they place a job order. That would be annoying. But we do try to measure the performance of our branches by surveying our active clients on an annual or bi-annual basis. And we also participate in something I'm going to recommend to every staffing agency representative reading this - Inavero's Best of Staffing program.
As a representative of an agency that will have received, assuming an expected win this year, a Diamond Level 5 straight Best of Staffing Client Awards, I speak from experience when I say it makes a difference in how we are able to sell ourselves and our service to potential clients.
How, you ask? Because the folks at Inavero actually utilize a management tool that's not just used in the staffing world, but in any business that seeks to gauge how its customers truly feel about the product or service they provide - Net Promoter Score.
Here's the skinny, according to Wikipedia:
Net Promoter or Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm's customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional customer satisfaction research and claims to be correlated with revenue growth. NPS has been widely adopted with more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies using the metric.
Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty metric developed by (and a registered trademark of) Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company, and Satmetrix Systems. It was introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article "One Number You Need to Grow". NPS can be as low as 100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is felt to be good, and an NPS of +50 is excellent.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the loyalty that exists between a provider and a consumer. The provider can be a company, employer or any other entity. The provider is the entity that is asking the questions on the NPS survey. The consumer is the customer, employee, or respondent to an NPS survey.
Essentially, NPS cuts through all the survey noise by basing their research on a customer's answer to one simple question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?
Customers answer this question on a scale of 0 to 10. Those who answer with a 9 or a 10 are considered Promoters. Those who answer from 0 to 6 are Detractors (This seems harsh to me, because there is a huge difference between, say, a 1 and a 6, but I don't make the rules!), and 7 or 8 scores are called Passives. "The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. For purposes of calculating a Net Promoter Score, Passives count towards the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score towards 0."
To sum it up, we send our client list to Inavero. They conduct an independent survey, tally the results, then award the Best of Staffing designation to agencies that score significantly higher than the industry average.
What does that mean to your agency? It means that you can legitimately claim to prospective clients that your current clients aren't just doing business with you, they are willing to actively promote your service to others.
Of course, the very first step is to provide outstanding customer service in the first place! But once you do that, getting measured by a reputable standard will help set you apart.
Best of Staffing also provides a Talent survey agencies can participate in. Winning that one too is an even greater measure of your agency's performance, because it means you're treating both your clients AND your talent the way they should be treated.
Sure, there's no doubt surveys can be a pain, but this is one that I heartily recommend. Winning the Best of Staffing award not only provides much-needed separation between you and your competition, it provides the staffing industry with a measurable gold standard that tallies across industries and highlights the firms that are doing their jobs right.