Businesses and customers need to stop “faking it”

Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. (MGH/UA Home Entertainment)

A friend  shared a link to a news story today that says up to 80 percent of women fake orgasms when they’re with a partner. It got me wondering, strangely enough, about how many customers are “faking it” with businesses, too. (Why the two thoughts connected in my brain is just one of those scientific phenomena for which the world may never find an answer, but I digress.)

The reality is that we, as consumers, are constantly asked to give feedback to businesses who are desperately seeking to please us so that we can’t wait to, shall I say, “share an experience” again.

According to the MSNBC story noted above, one researcher reported that, “women were making conscious vocalizations in order to influence their partner rather than as a direct expression of sexual arousal.” And don’t we do the same thing as consumers, because we’re either too shy to speak up or simply figure it will be faster and easier to fake it than to offer truthful feedback?

When you are at a restaurant and a waitress or manager stops by to ask, “How is everything?”, don’t you generally say “It’s good” and then return to the table conversation already underway?

When you receive an online survey from a company you just purchased something from, do you ever bother to click through and participate, or do you just close the pop-up box and move on?

And those 2-foot long receipts that stores print out with the special survey codes for you to enter and “Tell us how we’re doing,” — does anyone ever remember to do those when they get home?

Even if you do complete a survey, are you being honest when filling out the bubbles and do you take the time to type in additional comments?

Companies often think they are providing good customer service if they don’t hear any complaints, but that’s a huge mistake. I’m sure that guys who brag about always bringing a woman to orgasm would be shocked to hear how their partner describes the situation to her girlfriends.

And while social media venting helps, you still don’t know how all of your customers are describing their latest interaction to other people.

That’s why businesses and customers need to stop “faking it.”

From a business standpoint, the next time you contact a customer to find out if they’re satisfied, remind them that you really are in it for a long-haul relationship and, as one researched noted, “In general, honesty is the best policy.” Of course, that also means doing your part to provide the best customer experience possible, even if it means hearing that your tried-and-true technique just doesn’t cut it any more.

From a consumer standpoint, think about the feedback you’re providing to a business. If all you ever do is fake your satisfaction, you are in for a rather unsatisfying relationship — and where’s the fun in that?

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4 comments on “Businesses and customers need to stop “faking it”

  1. When I buy a new car, every dealership sales manager tells me: “If there’s any reason why you can’t mark ‘Very Satisfied’ on your evaluation, you just give us a call first. We really need you to mark ‘Very Satisfied.'” This is why customers “fake it.” How useful is customer feedback if the dealership only wants one kind of comment? I don’t bother with these surveys anymore.

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    • True, Colleen. My VW dealer does this a lot, too, and while I believe they are sincere about it, I tend to just bump up to a “Very Satisfied” for stuff that I then feel pressured to consider quite minor. I should take my own advice and stop doing that, eh? 🙂

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  2. Spot on, Ari. Businesses, more than ever, needs an honest and constructive exchange of information in order to survive and grow.

    Totally agree about the pressure to bump up responses. That pressure is there because companies use the results inappropriately and employees end up more inclined to care about survey results than our actual experience. Feedback should be solicited with the intention to apply the information to the organization as a whole, not to be used in some illogical punishment/reward system.

    Interesting thing, I’ve lived in Detroit, Lansing, Baltimore/DC and Dallas/Fort Worth. The inclination to fake it is regional, to an extent. I noticed clear differences in how readily clients offered feedback. In Michigan I had to coax a lot more than in Dallas/Forth Worth. In DC, I barely had to ask. Out it came.

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    • Thanks for the comment Lisa. I do think the Midwest suffers from a “niceness complex,” in that we tend to just let things go more easily than other regions. Of course, maybe our attitude of just going with the flow is why people like that Midwestern hospitality and we don’t get panned for being rude or obnoxious like residents of some other regions.

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