Please explain why you gave that rating.

Who was your sales advisor?

Er – Katy something.

How would you rate your sales advisor? (Where 0 is very disappointing and 10 is highly satisfactory.)

10

Please explain why you have rated him or her ‘highly satisfactory’.

Hmm. Hmmmmm. Actually, I’m not sure. What makes anything satisfactory these days? I needed carpet. She supplied carpet. She satisfied that need. She didn’t produce any obstacles in her supplying of carpet. She facilitated my carpet buying.

Was it ‘high’ satisfaction? I don’t know. I didn’t leave elated. She didn’t solve world hunger. But she also didn’t invade a country. I’m not sure, though, that I needed those things (in my purchasing of carpet, you understand. Had she offered them as extras, I’d’ve certainly accepted them – but they wouldn’t necessarily have facilitated the purchasing of the carpet).

She was extremely pleasant, friendly and cheerful. She smiled a lot. She bantered. All these things are good. Mind you, it was clear that she had been instructed to point out where on the receipt her name was so that when the inevitable email arrived and I was asked to rate her customer service ‘in an effort to improve [y]our standards’, I could identify her – and that kind of defeated us both.

It defeated her because it made it look as if her – I don’t know – her humanity(?), which had been so effortless and light, was actually just something which a large corporation could ‘train for’ and ‘reward’, something which could be turned on and off, or something which she did just so that a customer wouldn’t give her a scathing report. It also defeated her because it clearly went against her *excellent* customer service skills to remind me that I would be asked to fill out a form on her dealings with me.

It defeated me because it actually pretty much ruined the – up until that point – very enjoyable process of that most mundane of tasks: buying stuff.

Why am I rating her so highly? Because she was bloody excellent at her job despite having to ask me to fill in an online form about her serving of me. You should pay her more. Actually, I think you should probably pay everyone more – because, actually, you probably pay them a pittance or, worse, commission. And paying people more, and not asking them to get people to rate their performance, might be the best way, really, of getting them to be the best salespeople they can be. Rather than not giving them bonuses if they fail to ‘deliver the magic’ or sending them on courses entitled ‘being highly satisfactory’ or similar drivel.

Please don’t send her on a course about ‘ascending to middle management’. And please, please don’t make her lead a training session on how to be highly satisfactory. Please don’t award her a ‘salesperson of the month’ award. Or give her a piece of parchment entitled such.

Just pay people more. And stop assuming that you can get feedback on every bloody transaction that your staff make with their customers to either improve service or tell off the shirkers. Because every time I have to fill in one of these forms, a little part of me dies: and that’s not good for my brand recognition.

(Secretly, of course, I rated her that because, deep down, I fear I won’t get into the prize draw unless I give everything top marks… but I’m not going to spoil a good rant by ‘fessing that up.)

L&K

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