Customer Feedback- When to Ask for it


I wanted to open a new business acount with Barclays, (to have all my accounts in one branch) so I called into my local branch 2 months ago. 

After a series of extremely annoying and frustrating series of events, one of which included a member of staff telling me that she was unable to email me the phone number I needed to call to arrange an appointment (I was talking to her on the phone at the time) because they didn't have an email address, and provided the following as an explanation: "we don't have time to email people, we're too busy serving customers"..


hmmm... I'd have thought serving customers was HELPING them to open up a business account, but clearly I am mistaken, what would I know? 

Barclays tag line for business accounts is "take one small step", it's a shame getting an appointment to open an account wasn't as simple.
Barclays tag line for business accounts is "take one small step", it's a shame getting an appointment to open an account wasn't as simple.

I finally got to see a "Business Advisor" and set up the account today and I experienced something interesting that I'd like to share with you. 

During the process the nice lady said that I would be telephoned at some point within the next month to be asked to rate the service I received from her today (out of 10) She said "I won't ask you for that rating now". 


I was relieved, I felt uncomfortable about having to give feedback directly to her (it wasn't all positive). 

Then at the end, once I'd signed on all the "x"s, she asked me that question again: "What would you rate the quality of the service you received from me today?"

I felt under pressure, and awkward; I am the type of person that I hold honesty as a high value, so I refused to give her a 9 out of 10 just to avoid the awkwardness.  

But what could I say?  The start of our session she left me sitting other side of the desk twiddling my thumbs while she went through details on the computer- details which she could have done before I arrived, and didn't explain what she was doing as she was doing it.  There was no rapport building, no "niceties". 

Then when we started filling out the online application in their system she typed painfully slowly, not quite single finger typing, but almost as bad.  For someone that can type 80 words per minute, without looking at the keyboard watching her was painstaking and I wished I could just enter the information myself! 


So I plumped for 7 out of 10.  


It was then that I got the look of disappointment... "That's a fairly low score for Barclays, they would expect a 9 out of 10"  


"Oh" I said...


"Would you like me to say why I gave you that rating?"


I then explained the very slow typing and that I would expect that Barclays would provide their employees with typing courses as standard, and that it was frustrating watching the data entry going so slowly.  She explained that Barclays don't provide that training to employees.

I cannot understand the logic in this, they're paying people to do data entry, but don't feel it appropriate to invest in training to reduce the time it takes them to do their job?  What was also startling about this was that the lady had shared with me she'd worked in Barclays all of her working life, and was only 2 years away from retirement.   As a rough estimate, even if that course only saved 2 hours per week, how much cost was that to the bank over the lifetime of her employment?  I'm guessing a lot less than the cost of the course.  And that's not even taking into consideration the benefits that having those skills would have- providing better, quicker customer service, wouldn't that make customers more loyal, more positive, more likely to trust and recommend the bank?  Give them more business, remain more loyal? 

But I digress... The point I wanted to highlight here is this:


When is the right time to ask for feedback from customers? 

Do you want honest feedback, or do you want feedback that looks good in a report to shareholders?  

Asking a customer for face to face feedback, on paper, is a good idea.  However I suspect it is highly likely to produce more positive feedback than if it were asked for by a different person who had given the service. 

What do you think? 

Do you like being asked to rate the person who served you directly?  
Are you more generous if the person you're rating is personally asking you feedback to avoid "awkwardness"?    

Please as always leave your comments below, I and other readers enjoy learning from your perspective and opinions too. 



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