Customer Satisfaction
Are Your Incentives in Proper Alignment to Produce Quality Service?

It is common for firms to talk about customer satisfaction, tell employees that satisfaction is important, and forget to make sure that the proper incentives are in place to improve customer satisfaction scores. This goes beyond just providing monetary incentives to employees. It is wise to take a hard look at all processes and procedures in an attempt to uncover areas where incentives do not parallel customer service goals. The below examples show how easy it is for incentives to be out of whack with service goals.

Did you hear about?

  • The telephone calling center whose reps were punished with poor reviews if call lengths exceeded a certain limit. Is it any wonder that the customers complained about being "rushed?".
  • The ATM firm (banks often pay other firms to stock their ATMs) that got paid the same, regardless of the number of hours that each ATM was not working properly. Is it any surprise that ATM down-time did not improve until monetary incentives were put in place to minimize ATM down-time?
  • The tailor who got paid the same, regardless whether it took two days or two weeks to fill alteration orders for his client, a major clothing retailer. Is it a surprise that the clothing retailer's customers were unhappy about the length of time it took to have a new suit altered?

These might seem to be obvious examples of how improper incentives can be in place, but they weren't obvious to the firms involved right away. It sometimes takes an objective, unbiased, hard look at a process before the so-called "obvious problems" rear their ugly heads.