Your manager’s feedback can be more useful than a satisfaction survey!

The other day a striking thing happened to me, and I want to share it with you, since I thought that it wasn’t an isolated case and that it could be useful for companies that use satisfaction surveys to evaluate their own sales force.

Nowadays, most companies whose target is the final consumer, carry out satisfaction surveys. Indeed, these evaluations, described by Benoit in another post blog, named NPS (Net Promotion Score) measure the capacity to generate promoters for the brands. Fans! This type of survey only takes into consideration a grade of 9 and 10 to evaluate positive responses, since 7 or 8 is not considered sufficient.

I am buying a car from a prestigious brand. Since the beginning, the car salesman at the car dealership was very kind, polite and answered all of my requests, doubts etc… To tell you the truth, he attended me very well. In other words, I can say that I was really satisfied with the customer service and with my references, I would give a 9 out of 10.

NPS: 10 out of 10

And why not a 10? I thought: because of my “professional deformation” since my job is to provide an excellent service to our clients so that in turn, they “marvel” their own customers… Only Nadia Comaneci gets a 10!

What should the salesman have done to get 10? He could have marvelled me from the first day, by asking me about my expectations, what I was looking for with this car, the kind of driving that I like, etc… It is true that I love cars (driving them as much as choosing one; and with my chidren we watch Top Gear and we read car magazines).

However, the salesman didn’t ask me any of these questions and perhaps the relationship and the sale would have been different if he had “danced” with me (check the 8 C’s of Capkelenn for a successful sale). For instance, suggesting options that would fit with my preferences and not only giving me a PDF catalogue.

Indeed, in my previous researches, I thought that maybe, being a woman, the car dealership salesmen weren’t taking me very seriously and in fact, there’s even one that didn’t even send me his quote!

I need a 10!

What happened then? A few days before the car delivery, the salesman told me that I would shortly receive a survey to know if I was well attended. And he told me that 8 out 10 is not enough for him to keep his job: to achieve his objective, I have to give him 10/10.

Obviously, I replied (by email) that yes, I thought that I had been well attended and that if I received the survey, I will give 9 out of 10. And I also briefly explained to him, that in my job I know about customer satisfaction surveys and I rarely had the opportunity to give a 10…unfortunately. Except in some cases, that we have previously mentioned in this blog.

His answer was:

  • “9 out of 10 won’t do for me, if I don’t get 10 I won’t receive my commission and I consider that I deserve it. Furthermore, my work doesn’t stop here with the car delivery. If you don’t give me 10, then I prefer you not answer this survey!

What do you think?

  • That the car salesman deserves the commission? Yes, I agree.
  • That the car salesman crossed the line? Yes, definitely.
  • And so, what must I do? To go forget my principles by giving 10 even if 10 is another level of service in my books?

Thinking that if I don’t give him 10, he will not only get his commission but his customer service from now on will be different.

So here we have a problem then. Many companies put a lot of pressure on these satisfaction surveys and at the end the salesperson tells the client the grade he must give! Is it useful for the company to have surveys with only 10’s? Then, it doesn’t reflect the reality. How could they identify ways of improvement? Because they are always some.

How to improve NPS results

In fact, at Capkelenn, we also carry out satisfaction surveys to our clients at the end of a sales training or a coaching program and our objective is to get a very high grade between 9 and 10, because we are demanding with our retail coaches and our methodology of coaching for salesforce. What happened if a coach gets an 8 or a 7? We analyse with the coach what might have happened and we ask him how is he going to improve to be sure that at the next retail coaching training, he will get a very good grade of 9 or 10. This is how a satisfaction survey must be used, to identify what we can do and how we can improve.

Furthermore, we have to consider cultural differences because we have seen that, in Madrid or Mexico a 9 is equivalent to an 8 in France or England; and to a 7 in Holland.

I think it is a good idea that a part of the salary can be linked to this survey but be careful with having a high level and rewarding only 10’s, because the same might happen as with my experience. Perhaps, if you have this objective of 10 with your salesforce, you must be sure that they know how to get this 10 out of 10. For instance, by showing them what other elements can also be part of an excellent service as nowadays, all customers are looking for good service as a minimum.

Indeed this story reminds me of another one that happened to my partner, Benoit Mahé, in France. He was renting a car and the guy of the rental company was really nice, with a good service, a touch of humour, suggesting different options. He succeeded to create the “dancing” relationship with Benoit. At the end, Benoit told him with a smile “hey, I like your way of attending”, the sales attendant asked him to give a positive evaluation if he receives a survey. It was asked with such a natural way without asking any figure or blackmail… Benoit received an email immediately in his phone before sitting in the car, and he gave him the maximum grade, he was delighted.

Satisfaction surveys

To conclude:

  • Yes to the satisfaction surveys, since it’s an excellent scale for companies to evaluate.
  • No to surveys considered as “the absolute truth” to evaluate and reward a sales person. I am sure that, if your Manager in the car dealership, dedicates some time to observe every week your customer service, a feedback from him will be much more valuable, and more useful than a grade from a survey!


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