How to Subvert the Feedback Process

Friday, December 30th, 2011

How to Subvert the Feedback Process

I just completed a survey asking about my experience buying a new car. I think I hated filling it out worse than I hated actually buying the car. The salesperson was very good. No complaints. But there were a few things about the dealership that I would have rated a little lower. But, the salesperson asked a favor. He said that I would be getting a survey from the manufacturer. “Would I please rate everything a 10?” He explained that his pay was directly linked to top scores.

I happen to believe in the potential value of feedback (I even wrote a book on the subject), but this process was a parody of good feedback. The only person to benefit was the salesperson. The company will learn nothing about the quality of this dealership. The dealership won’t learn anything about what this customer really thought about the entire sales process.  And, while the salesperson will make his commission, he will learn nothing about areas in which he might improve.

P.S. As I was writing this blog post, the salesperson called to say thanks for completing the survey. I told him I was glad to help him, and then told him about this blog post and that I did have feedback for the dealership. His response: “Thanks for filling it out. If I can do anything to serve you in the future. . .” Ah, feedback.