Re: Customer satisfaction survey?

Subject: Re: Customer satisfaction survey?
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 10:55:07 -0500

Geoff Hart wrote:

Jennifer Gidner wondered: <<Our small (2-member) Technical Writing shop has been told that we will be measured this year by the results of a customer satisfaction survey that we must create. Yikes!>>

The first step in designing such things is to sit down with the people who will be interpreting the results and find out their parameters for success: What metrics do they want you to collect, why, and how do they intend to use those metrics? For a few thoughts along those lines:

Doing job reviews for people who are all performing well is notoriously hard, especially when you are trying to justify what you are doing. To some, it seems somehow more "scientific" if you have numbers. I submit that this sort of measurement is bad at best, and counterproductive or severely harmful at worst. The trouble is that you'll get what you asked for, without realizing what you were actually requesting. Maybe the good folks will just leave, or will start "working to spec" instead of being properly innovative.

The job review for a thief or a total nonproducer is easier--fire the SOB. (We just did that.)

Sometimes the lower (so-called "middle") management is told to rank everyone in the department and get rid of the bottom 10%. This is not an effective strategy for small departments that function well!

I've often been told that my resume should include strong data, like the amount of money I've saved or extra revenue produced. But we as tech writers know that those figures do not exist. How much did I save on the preliminary plans I wrote for the project that was cancelled before I could do the actual work? How much did I save for the company that was totally scuttled by poor management on the upper levels? What revenue did I generate in getting ready for the contract that fell through?

One might try looking into the cost of not having the documentation, or of having it written by the SMEs at the cost of lost design and coding time, or something like that.

My wife says, "When they start talking that way [reviews based on silly numbers], it's time to look elsewhere." Bonne chance!

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Customer satisfaction survey?: From: Geoff Hart

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