Last week, Bruce Temkin discussed the ins and outs of tying employee compensation to customer feedback scores.
He offers a few observations on the issue, my favorite of which is:
- "If there is significant compensation tied to any metric (including customer feedback), then people will look for ways to manipulate the measurement."
We have seen this in action, and it’s sort of like the People of Walmart site, in that you sort of need to see to believe.
Not too long ago, we worked with a national restaurant chain that performed several in-store assessments per month.
For one section of the assessment, the evaluators were asked to identify the manager, and note whether or not the manager was seen visiting tables and talking to guests.
One night, at a particular location, one of our evaluators was approached by a young employee wearing a manager’s shirt.
After a short conversation about how the dining experience was going, our evaluator commented to the manager that she seemed awfully young to be managing a restaurant.
To which the employee replied:
- “I’m not actually a manager. Our secret shopping program gives us more points if managers visit the tables, so the real manager has me wear this shirt and visit all of the tables.”
So yes, tying compensation to customer feedback will definitely lead to some degree of shenanigans, and the challenge is to develop feedback programs that offer as little opportunity for manipulation as possible.
It’s definitely a learning experience (as opposed to the People of Walmart).