Bad Candidate/Customer Satisfaction Score? Just Buy A Better One.

While it could be argued that a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the gold standard for measuring customer satisfaction, what isn’t often argued is the value that a company can derive from properly executing a feedback loop meant to improve the delivered experience and thus, the level of satisfaction in question.  For those that are not aware, an NPS is at its most basic a number that ranges from -100 to 100 and that measures the willingness of a customer to recommend a company, or the company’s product, to others.

Over the last eight years and because of my involvement with The Talent Board and The Candidate Experience Awards, I’ve become more familiar with how NPS’s work and the power that they can have when looking at improving processes, partnerships, and candidate favor.  It’s for this reason that when presented by an organization with a quick (hopefully!) survey about my experience, I take the time to complete it because my hope is that they’re looking to build upon, and improve, their performance and offerings to customers – something I can respect as a CandE advocate and business owner.

That’s why, after purchasing a new car from a local automobile dealership, I willingly took the time to go through a satisfaction survey when it was sent to me.  And why, at least at first, I was happy to take a call from the dealership just a few days later when they rang me back to discuss my feedback.  The call went something like this…

“Hi, Chris.  This is Mark (name changed) from the dealership and I’d like to discuss with you the responses you gave to us on our feedback survey.”

“Hi, Mark.  It’s good to hear from you – I’m happy to talk about that.  What would you like to know?”

“Well we just got out of our sales review meeting and my boss really raked me over the coals in front of everyone because you gave the dealership such a low score and said that you wouldn’t recommend us to anyone.”

“That’s correct.  I had my vehicle picked out within 45 minutes, and while you were really helpful, I sat at a desk for over 5 hours waiting for your team to take my money, return my ID, and send me on my way with my vehicle.  I did call out that you were a great help specifically and that the issue seemed to sit directly with how the place was staffed and management working that day – so I’m not sure why you would get raked over the coals.”

“Yeah, but I did.  In front of everyone.  And I appreciated your comments about me, but it’s a score that our manager just really isn’t happy with and he wants me to see if there’s anything we can do to get you to re-take the survey.”

“Re-take it?  Yeah, I guess I could.  I’m more than happy to take it again and be much more clear around how my dissatisfaction was not at all with you but with how the dealership was being run that day.”

“Well, that won’t really help.  He knows that but doesn’t care.  He’s asked if we can incentivize you to change your score to say that you’d recommend us to people.  And we’ll give you a $500 voucher to be used here at the dealership or online if you’ll just do that.”

Buying a better satisfaction score just compounds the issue

I won’t include the rest of the conversation about how offering to pay off a customer to change an NPS score completely undermines the entire feedback loop, or about holding the wrong party accountable for a bad experience so that leadership can dodge a bullet (and likely retain their dealership license/job), or even the slightly longer conversation I had with “Mark” about helping him to find a job somewhere that values him and believes in transparency and accountability.  But what I will do is draw an easy correlation between this experience and the work done (and not done) within our industry to improve on the experiences we offer to candidates, hiring managers, and even recruiters.

[Read Also: It’s not just about the candidate. How’s your hiring manager experience?]

Even if an organization isn’t taking part in a comprehensive batch process like The Candidate Experience Awards (which we at CXR would highly recommend – as there honestly is no downside) they can do something as simple and easy as a 2 question survey to their candidates asking something as simple as the following:

  1. Based on your experience with us, how likely are you to recommend us as a potential employer to others? (scale)
  2. Please include a brief comment to explain your rating.

No, this isn’t a deep dive, but it is a start that can be delivered in an email, through any number of free survey tools, or within a pop-up on a career site.  Teams hard pressed for budget or IT support to make changes to their sites could even implement these questions within their applicant screening or apply process.

It’s not just about collecting the feedback

But soliciting feedback from candidates is only the first step – and quite frankly, the easiest step.  The real work comes when teams will be forced to take a look at that feedback and possibly face some challenges (big or small) with regards to what candidates and customers think of the experience being delivered.  This means that things might need to change, champions may need to be identified, and follow up delivered to candidates, customers, and future applicants alike.

While some may not like the feedback received, it’s my humble but correct opinion that it is the greatest of leaders who continue to somehow collect the responses and push for constant improvement rather than shrugging it off or burying the results somewhere.  Or offering to pay customers for fake feedback, of course.

Picture of Chris Hoyt

Chris Hoyt

A veteran of recruiting and HR, Hoyt is a sought-after speaker with presentations including national conferences with SHRM, LinkedIn, HR Technology, ERE and others in the USA as well as UNLEASH, iRecruit, Australasian Talent Conference and more abroad. Chris has been promoting and leading full scale and enterprise-wide integrations of social media and mobile marketing within workforce strategies for his entire career. His expertise and passion for interactive/social recruiting, candidate experience, and both national and international recruiting strategies are all areas that Hoyt now leverages as co-owner and President at CareerXroads, a Recruiting/Staffing consulting and think tank organization that works with corporate leaders from around the world to break out of traditional recruitment practices and push the envelope in an effort to win the ongoing war for top talent.

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