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How Likely Are You To Recommend . . . ?

You go to a web site and do some sort of business with it. You purchase something, say. After your transaction is complete, usually something pops up on the web page and asks, "Would you like to take a survey about your recent experiences with XYZ Corporation?" (Questions 1 and 2 below relate to this.)

Assuming you bother, there will almost always be a question along these lines: "How likely are you to recommend XYZ Corporation to everyone on the entire planet?" It's usually on a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale where 1 is "I would not recommend XYZ Corporation to anyone" and the highest number is "I will stop random people on the street, hold a gun to their heads, and literally force them to visit XYZ Corporation's site."

[ETA: I worded one of those questions badly. When I asked "Are you truthful?" I meant when you answer the 'How likely are you to recommend . . . ?' question, not here. :)]

Poll #1920767 Survey questions :)

Do you bother taking the surveys at all?

Yes
6(42.9%)
No
5(35.7%)
Other
3(21.4%)

If "Other," please explain. (Example: I'll take it if I have time)

Do you bother answering the "How likely are you . . . ?" question?

Yes
9(64.3%)
No
5(35.7%)

Are you truthful?

Yes
13(92.9%)
No
1(7.1%)


Now, on to the reason I asked. :)

I learned a couple of weeks back that my company actually pays a huge amount of attention to this question. No, really. According to the guy presenting at the meeting, it is viewed as the single most important question on the entire survey. Answers of 7 or below are considered customers we need to work on, because they don't love us enough, if at all. Answers of 8 to 9 are considered satisfied. Customers who answer 10 are considered evangelists who are recommending us to . . . whom? Their competitors? I was a little shaky on exactly how this would scale up from an individual to a business.

If I really, really love XYZ Corporation, and I think they're the best thing since flying cars, I might randomly say to a friend, "Hey, you ought to check out XYZ Corporation!" But if I'm a person working in a corporate environment, how does that scale up? If I'm in charge of Spacely Sprockets' contracts, do I call up my counterpart at Cogswell's Cogs and say, "Hey, we've gotten excellent customer service at XYZ, and we think you should use them, too!" If they call me (Why would they?) and ask, would I tell them?

You see my confusion, I hope.

When I see that question, I always think to myself, "Well, no. I don't go around annoying my friends and family by shoving unwanted recommendations in their faces." Or I might think, "Well, if someone were to ask me what company I use for whatever service XYZ is providing, I might say, 'I use XYZ.'"

The best score I ever give on those questions is whatever means "Neither likely nor unlikely." I guess it's because I have always interpreted the question . . . oddly? I'm certainly not an evangelist, I don't hate them or I wouldn't do business with them. But I'm not going to say I'm likely if I'm not. So if the companies whose surveys I'm answering are paying as much attention as my company claims to, I'm coming across as a hater, when all I really mean is, "If they ask, sure."

I'm curious if I'm the only one that interprets it that way. I'm also curious if the companies you work for take it as seriously. And lastly, I'm curious if it surprises you that they do take it seriously. I always thought it was a throw-away question.

As an aside, the guy making the presentation said they send out one of these surveys to every customer of ours, and we get back approximately 13% of them. That doesn't surprise me at all. :)


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