Mandatory 10

Recently I had my car worked on— a strange and expensive malfunction that was not my fault and (thank God) still covered under my warranty.  On the third week of being at the repair shop (a week longer than they had estimated), I called to find out what was going on and when my car would be ready.  Emphasis on “I called them”—even though they had promised to call me.  The shop manager was very cordial, explained that my warranty would cover the mega expense, that I now had a ‘brand new’ car in an older body and that I could pick it up that afternoon.  Urgh—the fool knew I was anxious to get my car back, especially when a 3-day weekend was coming up in a day. My thoughts of why he didn’t call me sooner, why he underestimated the time it would take to fix,  why he kept me on pins and needles regarding how much my warranty would cover dissipated when I knew I could pick up my car.  Yay!

The shop manager ended our phone conversation (in an overly saccharine tone) with the news that I would be receiving a service survey from his corporate headquarters to complete and asked if I would give him the highest marks of 10 for his great service.  I said “uh, sure”.  When I picked up my car and the manager gave me the skippin’ &  a’hummin’  walk to my car (including opening the driver’s door for me), he again mentioned the survey and that “10s would be the only acceptable marks” I could give.   I said “uh hum”.

A few days later, I received a letter from the same dealership’s General Manager that extolled what a great job they did for me, then went on to remind me about the survey and the letter ended with “Anything other than a perfect 10 on the entire survey is a failing grade for your Service Advisor.  Your complete satisfaction is our future.”  There were lots of bold printed words like “10”, “complete” and “future” followed by several asterisks and large fonts on specific sentences.

I told my friend Dee Dee about this and she said the same thing happened to her. Except she actually took the time to answer the survey honestly—not giving all 10s across the   board as she was advised to, because after all “no one is perfect” she said.  However, she did give (what she thought were) high marks, and all above average. A week after she turned in the survey  her Service Advisor called her, was extremely angry and blamed her for getting fired!

This whole thing smacks to me of some sort of emotional extortion. I wonder if men also get this high pressure survey taking campaign–or if I am being profiled.  I would add this to ‘La Crisis” list, because maybe these corporate stores are getting the ultimatum  to pick up the pace or get shut down.  Maybe the individual Service Advisor has been f’ing up to the point that he already has one foot out the door.  Could  my survey answers be the only thing that can help him now? I see the changes around, but especially at Home Depot.  Where once you had to hunt down someone to help you and even when you heard “Nacho, someone in lighting needs your help” on the store intercom—Nacho never showed.  Now—you trip over all the “associates” smiling, following on your heels to help you and who even escort you right to the item you are looking for.  Weird.

Okay, so more than likely I will give all 10s to the guys that fixed my car, because I do not want to be the cause of them getting closed down or someone being fired. Still, I wonder when did 10 become the new 6, 7, 8 or 9?  Are we really expected to praise what people are supposed to be doing at their jobs anyway, as if they did something extra or special?  I see some sort of lowering of standards coming out of all this.  Is average really all we are expected to be now?


2 thoughts on “Mandatory 10

  1. most definitely not a profiling thing. i’ll talk shop with some of my mechanics and they still bring on the whole “will you be rating me a perfect 10?” spiel. i’m always honest when i get the survey, but i also tell them i won’t be giving them a perfect 10 when they ask and have solid answers when the inevitable follow-up “why?” is asked.

    i have yet to experience this recently improved service you speak of at home depot.

  2. Victoria,
    I’d be be honest if the shop manager and the general manager is following up extolling you to complete the survey. If there is a spot where you can write your qualms – do so just like you did here; “Car was promised in two weeks, took three to complete repairs.” “Never got a call to inform me that the repair would be delayed or why the delay with the repair (hard to get part, tsunami/earthquake delays, etc…).” Ask why the dealer didn’t offer you a rental car while your car was out with a warranty repair (that the dealer gets paid for doing). Was your car washed when returned to you?

    Wanting to be rated highly for customer service means that good service should be provided. As far as your friend and the service advisor who was fired – if their career ended because of a survey, I’d guess there was more going on than a bad rating by a customer.

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