Posted by: knightbird | January 25, 2012

The Wrong Reason for Surveys

A new flavor of the day is the conduct of customer satisfaction surveys by many organizations. The reason I say flavor of the day is that many organizations are using their surveys as a command and control tool to enforce specific behaviors on the part of their employees. I had a conversation with a sales manager for a major automobile company who told me that employees and sales managers are penalized up to 30% of their paycheck for survey results that are lower than the maximum 10. I also spoke to the general manager of a manufacturing plant who told me about the one question that satisfies information needs in a survey. That question is in its essence “would you recommend us to your family and friends.”

In a Lean managed organization the major purpose for any survey should be to identify problems and/or defects in the product or service in order to fix the problem or defect. A Lean managed organization should believe at its core that 98% of defects exist because of poor systems or processes. Punishing employee for bad survey results is the wrong thing to do.

When I call the customer support line for a service or product, I am frequently told that the call may be monitored. I also believe that this is a negative action on the part of management and intended to command and control their employees.

Well-managed companies using lean management principles will train their employees to deliver maximum value to customers. They will also motivate and inspire their employees to serve their customers. In a lean management environment surveys and monitoring are necessarily only for the purpose of identifying defects or problems in order to fix them.

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