Best PracticesCustomer InsightsCustomer Satisfaction & LoyaltyCustomer Surveys

How to Avoid Customer Feedback Fraud

Don’t let employees bias customer feedback results. Or worse, don’t let high-score-seeking employees bully customers into giving them inflated scores.

If you allow employees to invite customers to take customer satisfaction feedback surveys, make sure they aren’t saying things like, “The highest score is a 10. I hope I earned a 10!” You have probably experienced this yourself, perhaps at an auto dealership or retail chain. Upon completion of your transaction, the clerk give you the feedback survey instructions (perhaps advising of a phone call you will receive, or giving you a URL to use), and then says something like, “I’m hoping you rate me as “extremely helpful.”

Obviously, such behavior not only taints the data, it can also make customers uncomfortable.

So how can you determine if your customer feedback system is being abused? Here are three easy options:

  • Simple analysis. For example, if you are in retail you may be able to run the statistics on individual sales people or customer service reps to see if their scores appear artificially high or simply too consistent.
  • Get outside help.  Deploy some mystery shoppers on a discovery mission. What do they experience?
  • Ask. In the feedback survey itself, ask respondents if anyone told them how to respond or suggested a desirable feedback score.

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Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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1 thought on “How to Avoid Customer Feedback Fraud”

  1. This is an interesting post. A couple of quick notes here…

    * In retail and restaurants we actually see a very small amount of consumer fraud. When we use bounce-back coupons, for instance, the number redeemed is actually a very small % of the number issues. In most brands, the customer wants to give feedback and is probably already doing so on sites such as Yelp if the company isn’t providing a direct means.

    * The majority of responses from customers in retail and restaurants is a perfect score. The difference between companies that really draw in repeat customers and those who only passively satisfy is (in letter grade terms) an A+ versus an A or A-. “B” players aren’t even on the map. My only point would be not to be too surprised to see any one location or team member getting consistently high grades.

    * We actually use software to keep people from gaming the system, but (to be honest) it wasn’t a great investment of dev budget for us! Very infrequently happens. If you’re asking for feedback right and are sharing it with team members right then it doesn’t really come into play.

    Keep up the great blog!


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