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When you call a company’s customer service branch, you’re more than likely going to be asked to complete a “quick five minute survey”  on customer satisfaction. The man to thank for those requests in Fred Reichheld, a fellow and consultant at Bain & Company. He invented the survey 14 years ago to get a better understanding of customer behaviors and loyalty. The questionnaires caught on, and now are almost guaranteed at the end of a service call. In light of the survey popularity, Reichheld has also written a few books on how they are best employed.

Reichheld’s thoughts on the use of customer satisfaction surveys:

There’s no question there is a tsunami of surveys that’s just overwhelming and I think of it as a little bit of a pollution effect that we have to find a way to overcome.

On the use of online reviews:

The intentions are excellent, but I see too many of these where it appears to me that at least a third of the reviews are fake, or they have intention behind them. When I wrote the first book and saw reviews that were completely negative, I saw that these were competitors of mine that just didn’t like my business. It wasn’t that the book was bad. And I think everyone in the marketplace faces this, ‘Gee, I want my mother-in-law to write a positive review for me, and the competitors are out there slamming me.’ So, this issue of credibility I think is an enormous one.

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal