My Dog Died and I Got a Survey
This is still raw, so I’m working hard to be constructive and not mean. But seriously, how much more self-centered can a veterinarian company be, than to send me a survey the morning after my dog dies to ask, “How did we do?” Yes, this really happened.
On Friday, Lancelot (pictured above, on the day I got him when he was 8 weeks old) died suddenly after eleven and a half wonderful years. Anyone who has had a pet knows the decision to say goodbye is agonizing, even when you are certain it is right. I never cried so hard in my life. Next morning I get an email: “As a follow-up, we would like to get feedback about your experience. The survey will only take a few minutes and will help in our efforts …” blah blah blah. It was unbearably insensitive.
What’s ironic is that I was deeply impressed with the vets and technicians who helped us. I had been thinking it would be good to let them know. I wanted to thank them for doing it right. So instead of ranting further, let me offer some ideas. Here is what they could have done to make their request less obnoxious:
- Wait two weeks. It is generally harder for people to remember specifics as more time elapses, but trust me, a dog dying is memorable. It can wait.
- Call, don’t write. The email was clearly triggered by an automated system installed by a research company specializing in “customer experience management.” Dump it. A caring phone call (yes, it will cost more!) would have demonstrated at least some thoughtfulness and commitment to customers.
- Make it about me, not about you. Instead of focusing on what you would like, and how it will help you, make the phone call about me, your customer who is grieving. Here is a suggested script:
Hello Mr. Hopper, This is _________ from _________ and I’m so sorry about Lancelot and your loss. We are here to listen and help if you need anything. Are there any thoughts or questions you want to share about how our staff met your needs during that difficult time two weeks ago?
- Make it qualitative, not a survey. Just listen to me, and then have a person summarize and code my responses. It is more respectful, and you will get richer, more meaningful data.
I know you love your NPS, that cold, calculating statistic promising corporate riches for every notch you nudge it higher. But my dog just died. At least let me pretend that your corporate metric mongers have hearts as big as your front-line staff who just helped me say goodbye to him.
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