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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meaningless evaluations

Whenever I go to have my car fixed, I'm treated to the inevitable request at the end of the service, to fill out a questionnaire on how they performed.  I also always get the admonition to be sure to give them 10 of 10 because anything below that is considered failing. If I have any issues, I need to talk with them, but not use the questionnaire to point out a deficiency

I recently spoke with someone in the hotel industry who said their company did the same thing.  Anything below a perfect score was failing.  I no longer fill out these questionnaires because it is apparent they are not being used to improve service, but rather to brag about how great they are.  After all, if you always get perfect scores from your customers how great you must be.

Evaluations should be used to find out what you are doing wrong so it can be fixed rather than to just get a pat on the back. I see this in grading papers as well. I try to use my evaluations to point out where students need to improve, what they need to do better, but students simply want the high points not necessarily to improve.  (I over-generalize about students, of course. There are many exceptions.  I find few in the business world, however.)

Personally, if I were running a business, I would want customers to be honest and then use the results to measure improvement over time.  My hotelier said they were used to fire staff who didn't get perfect scores for the business.  That's crazy and counter-productive. Evaluations need to be used for improvement not punishment.

In the meantime, I quit filling out the dumb things.
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