No. 15 Monopolis – The Customer Survey

One practice that will stick in the mind of the recent returnee from Monopolis, must certainly be that of the so-called ‘Customer Survey’.

Such great store is set by the results of the Customer Survey. Every conceivable interaction between the Monopolian and his or her customer is surveyed and evaluated.

The Monopolis ‘official version’ of the Customer Survey concept is that customer satisfaction is the single most important measure of the work, and therefore of the success, of Monopolis. The Customer Survey is king, people get promoted or fired based upon their Customer Satisfaction Survey Results.

Of course, being Monopolis, the Customer Satisfaction Survey is not referred to as the Customer Satisfaction Survey at all, but is instead, entitled the ‘Customer and Business Partner Experience (CBPE) Survey’, which, you will agree, is very different and obviously much better as it places somewhat at one degree removed the vexed question of customer satisfaction itself, and substitutes instead the more ambiguous, and therefore more malleable, concept of customer ‘experience’.

From an apparently objective measure, the renaming of ‘satisfaction’ to ‘experience’ repositions the matter nicely from the world of facts to the word of perceptions. And as we all know, within Monopolis, perception is reality.

The recent returnee will recall that the CBPE Survey asks a number of questions about some more-or-less recent customer interaction and allows the Customer or ‘Business Partner’ to select from nine possible responses, where (1) indicates that said individual is ‘Highly Dissatisfied’ and (9) indicates ‘Total Beaming Satisfaction’.

Although there are nine possible responses, only an (8) or a (9) actually ‘count’, i.e. anything less than an (8) or a (9) represents the abject failure on the part of the Monopolian to satisfy the expectations of his or her customer. As mentioned, failure to satisfy ones customer (or more accurately, failure to obtain an (8) or a (9) in the CBPE Survey of said customer) is a recipe for corrective training, reduced bonuses or even dismissal.

It naturally follows that the Monopolian’s focus on keeping his or her customer very satisfied indeed, or at least of obtaining an (8) or a (9) from them when surveyed (which of course amounts to the same thing) is laser-like both in its refinement and its intensity.

One might infer, given the overarching, indeed central, significance of CBPE Survey results to the success, comfort and ultimate lifestyle of the Monopolian, that the Monopolian might do anything and everything necessary to obtain an (8) or a (9) from every customer, on every occasion they are surveyed. And one would of course be quite right.

The first question a Monopolian would ask, when musing upon the question of an upcoming CBPE Survey, would be whether or not to survey the customer at all. Monopolis, being nothing if not reasonable in matters such as these, does of course allow for odd occasions when, for whatever reason, a customer cannot be surveyed. Actually, I should correct my previous statement: to say ‘for whatever reason’ is not accurate, there are of course a limited number of prescribed reasons why a customer can and indeed should, be excluded from a survey, and of course each one comes with its own attendant risks…

The reasons for exclusion are:

  1. Death of the customer
  2. Permanent disablement of the customer
  3. The customer no longer works at the same organisation
  4. The customer has specifically asked not to be surveyed

The risks of using any one of these exclusions are as follows. The Monopolian’s manager may:

  1. Send their condolences to the organisation
  2. Send their condolences to the organisation
  3. Send a survey to a customer representative of their own choice at the organisation
  4. Call the customer directly to ask why they did not wish to be surveyed, and/or the manager may record a ‘black mark’ against the Monopolian’s name for failing to convince the customer to accept a survey

Finally of course, above a certain unspecified quota, failure to survey itself engenders a black mark.

The second question a Monopolian would ask, when musing upon the upcoming CBPE Survey, would be who, at the customer organisation, would be the most ‘appropriate’ recipient of the survey request. A great deal of thought and preparation can go into this selection.

The third question a Monopolian would ask would be what is the customer’s email address? Any error, even the most minute and apparently insignificant, might make the difference between the customer receiving the survey request and not receiving it.

As mentioned, a small number of customers will not to respond to the survey, and this is only to be expected.

Having selected the customer and their email address, the Monopolian then sets assiduously about explaining to the customer how the survey system works, in particular, the fact that anything other than an (8) or a (9) represents abject failure. The ways this is done are many and various.

The Monopolian must ensure, at all costs, that they get overwhelmingly (8)s and (9)s. An occasional (7) is acceptable and even adds a frisson of authenticity to the results. No response below a (7) can be tolerated.

It is therefore a testament to the quality of the customer service provided by the Monopolian, that the overwhelming majority of Monopolian’s achieve overwhelmingly excellent results the overwhelming majority of the time.

Overwhelming really…




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