– Microsoft survey female executives in the immediate aftermath of CEO Satya Nadella’s oh-so-insensitive remarks about women in the workplace?
– My all-time favorite fast food chain, McDonald’s, have asked parents their thoughts on the Hello Kitty whistles that were shown to be possible choking risks to their children?
– Takata, the Japanese automobile manufacturer whose air bags began deploying at will and injuring drivers, have asked customers, “So, how are those air bags treating you?
I ask these seemingly inane questions because I was recently handed a customer satisfaction survey by New Jersey Transit while I was stuck IN THE MIDST of a yet another unexpected and indefinite delay.
I kid you not. As we passengers sat stewing somewhere near the tourist attraction otherwise known as Rahway State Prison, an NJT employee dressed liked a Salvation Army refugee suddenly appeared. She strolled up and down the aisles distributing surveys while murmuring, “Fill them out and hand them in at Penn Station.” She simply oozed warmth and caring.
Needless to say, I was both appalled, and amused, at the mere prospect of NJT’s assessing customer satisfaction at the precise moment anger levels were soaring higher than the international space station.
My favorite question was a multiple-choice one, entitled:
“How likely are you to recommend this service to a friend or relative?”
After gagging, I responded by scribbling, “I wouldn’t recommend this service to my worst enemy.”
It seems to me the best time to field a customer satisfaction survey is either after you’ve solved a major problem or have instituted a program that consistently surprises and delights audiences. Brand haters will always exist, but a smartly timed survey should produce a more balanced response that will elicit real insights.
But, when you’re @newjerseytransit, and have little to no competition, you can pretty much field a survey after a trail derailment and still not worry about the results.
All of which has inspired me to suggest yet another tagline for my favorite rail system, “NJT: Pouring salt on the wound.”