Friday, December 08, 2006

When "good" isn't good enough

There's something about Asian culture... or maybe it's just Singapore's culture. There's this tendancy towards not giving harsh (or critical sounding) feedback, so as to "save face" for the recipient of the feedback. Yet, almost at the same time, there's a particular "stingy-ness" towards giving generous praise and good feedback.

There! I've said it - the word "good".

In my line of work (in training), "good" is simply no-good. Ironic isn't it? When a customer rates the training session as "good", it is saying that the trainer has failed utterly as an educator. Why? Simply because the feedback form has "Very good" and "Excellent" as choices!?!??! And thus the management in my company deems "Good' as meaning "bad".

On occasions, when we actually asked the customer if we delivered a good training session, the response we got could be "It was good! I've learnt so much from your class! Now I feel much more confident using the application and I will try it when i get back to my office. Thanks again for the training! "

Sounds like an appreciative client giving a strong endorsement? Yeah, except this client selected only "good" in the feedback form! Why? I sometimes wonder... it doesnt cost a single cent or penny to rate someone as "Excellent" right? But therein lies the pain of working in the service industry in Singapore... We've become such a critical lot and we expect so much in terms of service, that even when we actually LIKE the service provided, we're hesitant and stingy to dish out compliments and express our thanks/appreciation.

Of course, there are customers who provides very frank feedback, kindly giving "Excellent" grades to areas (in the training session) which they liked very much and deemed satisfactory while rating "Good" (and below) for areas which they feel have room for improvements.

But on the whole, the situation remains:

On one hand, nobody ever gives the "Average" and "Poor" ratings (unless they're really pissed with something! ). But on the other hand, most people stinge on the "Excellent" and "Very Good" scores. Hence, giving a "Good" seemed the easiest way out.



Anonymous ah huat said...

Perhaps some respondents believe that nothing is perfect, and that there would be always room for improvement, hence the "good" rating?

3:33 PM  
Blogger Wai said...

Err... from my own experience, unless it's really bad or really good, then pick the middle one lor. Judging by the normal curve, you should get the most "good"s, if it's in the middle. ;)

12:03 AM  
Blogger Hiong Gai Gai said...

yeah. ppl usually tend to choose the "middle" path.

I just think the if we had set the ratings as "Excellent", "Good", "Fair", "Poor", "very Poor"; then we'll probably get more "Good" ratings, which will satisfy the mgmt...

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frankly, i think the trainees are put off by the word "excellent". It is a distant word, coz they never attain it in Spore education context and work culture.

Does PSLE 281 = excellent? 7 A1s = excellent? 1st class honors? How many of us can actually claim to be in this stratosphere in the 1st place to be deemed "excellent"?

I have been to some survey where the words are replaced by figures, representing fully satisfied to unsatisfied. Perhaps such scoring is more lay-man :D


8:39 AM  

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