Ford Survey Blues

While doing stretching and exercises with my physical therapist (PT) today, our casual conversation meandered to surveys and feedback. He suddenly mentioned an interesting interaction he had with Ford recently. He had some recent car service done on his vehicle and was given a survey to complete. Being supportive of their business and always the opportunity to improve customer service, he completed the survey. The scale was 1-10, 10 being the highest rating. Even though his service experience was good, on several survey questions, he rated the question an 8 or 9 — a good rating but not the highest rating. Even though there was an option for the survey to be anonymous, he signed his name and number.

It appears because his rating that did not consist of perfect 10s, Ford contacted him. They were inquiring on why he did not give all 10s to this latest survey. As he’s listening to the initial reaction, he just couldn’t believe his ears. Real good input and they are requesting a response to those questions that didn’t score a perfect 10. He sheepishly explained his reasoning although that didn’t seem to squelch the interaction. They called again, and went through the script inquiring why not all 10s for his latest service.

He felt a little used. First, the survey was optional and my PT would be the first to claim how important his time is. He honestly completed the survey and responded to each question based on his particular service experience. It took a number of calls before the Ford service representative cease the calls. Customer centric?

I get it. Survey results are often directly tied to service rep ratings and overall service department ratings. Excellent rating for a given quarter or year might provide some financial or material bonus to the dealership. However, as perfect as a survey is designed may not necessarily capture the service experience. There are some clients who are less particular about service, if their car is fixed within a reasonable fee, they are happy regardless of the other service interactions. Then there are others who have a higher standard, applicable to the price, appointment availability and other miscellaneous things. Then there are others who don’t have much to say unless there’s a surprise or two during the service period. In other words, different strokes for different folks. No one approach is wrong or unacceptable, different personalities and experiences may widen the results regardless of how well the survey is organized and designed.

My PT also mentioned no section for comments on the latest survey. A gaffe or intentional? Comments are harder to quantify than a survey that just specifically asks for 1-10 responses. However, comments can provide valuable insights on a client’s experience.

If options were available, would that have made a difference? Would his detailed explanation on his service experience had been sufficient and eliminate all those follow up calls? In other words, if he rated certain parts of the survey as an 8 or 9, the additional comments might have shed light and perspective on these particular responses not marked a ’10’.

There are also extenuating circumstances that staff and management needs to factor in when evaluating survey responses. Perhaps the service job was more involved than anticipated. Perhaps Ford was short on automotive staff during his visit? Service representative and service technicians not on the same page? What will be the response from my physical therapist the next time Ford service asks him to complete a survey on his latest service. Will he attempt to be anonymous or smile and say, “No thanks!”



Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.