what's the point of customer surveys from big established chains?

Chains of all kinds have started giving me a slip with instructions for me to log onto a survey for a chance at a reward of some kind. What benefit does this provide the business?

I understand that if a place is new, customer feedback can be very useful. But I’ve gotten these requests at places like Chili’s and Taco Bell, chains that have pretty much nailed down their food type, business model, etc. So what’s the benefit to them? Do they get to tell their shareholders that X % of customers are satisfied and therefore … what? Chili’s and Taco Bell are in the business of making money by selling food. How does this survey tie into that i.e. how does it help their bottom line?

I would wager that the vast majority of information they get amounts to complaints, or things they might want to consider improving. I know I would never fill out a survey saying “Yep, the food was fine.”

Yes, they’re looking for any common complaints. But they usually have some questions rating service, prices, etc… The individual store may get rated based on that. Sometimes they’re trying to determine if recent changes have worked based on a change in responses. They also want to get your email address and spam you with coupons and ads.

I think they want your zipcode to see if there are enough people from that zipcode to see if they should open another location.

They gathering data. You never can tell when particular data might be important.

They do gather data. We once filled out a survey for free Outback food. Got called by a water testing technician offering a “free” test of our tap water.

Well, there you go.


Advertising, yes. And they’re used as metrics to rate the business. For some places, no reply is the same as a poor reply. So they’re really pushing the surveys.

From extensive and unfortunate experience, every one of these stores is scored using an incredibly convoluted system of ratings. These scores are used by district and regional managers to keep a pulse on everything happening within that store, and generally terrorize the employees and managers of that store into performing better or fear for their jobs. Much of their job security is based on these “customer feedback” surveys, because corporate management feels that it is better and/or easier to quantify customer service instead of taking the time to observe their employees themselves to determine if they are doing a good enough job at it.
It’s an incredibly shitty system, but I always call in good scores when I get the surveys because I used to be on the receiving end of those asshole district and regional managers.

Yeah, I have a good friend who manages a Taco Bell, and they get these scores (97% customer satisfaction or whatever) on a weekly basis. On he plus side, my friend really is a fanatic about customer service, consistently has the highest scores in his region, and has received two promotions at least in part due to how well he’s serving his customers (obviously, in addition to how well he’s controlling costs, etc.).