Let’s take a moment to think about perfection. La la la la hmm hmm hmm Okay that’s enough. Were your thoughts about the Supreme Being or perhaps last night’s goulash? Whatever it was, the problem with perfection is that it is all encompassing and yet subjective. Think about the lowly taco. If I asked ten folks to create the perfect taco, there would be seven different tacos, two of the people would copy their neighbor’s because it’s easier than thinking up their own, and the last person would lecture me about civil rights violations in Mexico, refuse to make any Mexican foods in protest, and stomp out of the room cursing me and the horse I rode in on. Yes, I live in the USA, land of the freak and home of bravado.
The point is, there is no such thing as the perfect taco, or the perfect anything for that matter. That is why I was so surprised, when my wife and I bought an electric range. No, I am not referring to the day I got married although she would say otherwise, but I’m getting off topic. Anyway, the salesman was helpful and reasonably attentive, and he filled out the delivery form in a fair amount of time. The curious part came as he handed me the receipt. He first asked me to complete the on-line survey at the bottom, but immediately followed it up with, “If you can’t give me all 5’s then don’t bother.” My brain twisted upon itself in confusion. (Now there’s an interesting visual) Did he want me to complete the survey or not? Unfortunately, he walked away before I had a chance to ask him. So, in an effort to find out, I went home and filled out the survey. No it wasn’t because I might win a $5,000 gift card, it was only for the research, mostly.
While filling it out I found out what he meant. The survey was six questions rating the stores service on a scale of one to five. The thing is, three was ‘Meets Expectations’, four was ‘Exceeds Expectations’ and five was “Oh My, This Guy Was GRRRRRREAT” or something like that. I thought about giving him the fives he wanted but the wording gave me pause. I came in to the store for an electric range and he sold me one. That was my expectation and he met it. I guess he might get an ‘Exceed’ because he didn’t try to sell me a dryer, and he did tell me about a discount. BUT he did not build the thing by hand in my favorite color, carry it on his shoulders to my house, or offer to repaint the kitchen when the colors clashed. So why should I give him a five? I found out why, two days later.
I was at my favorite coffee house, when a similar thing happened. Connie, my barista, that’s Italian for the lady who pours coffee, also asked me to fill out a survey, and also asked for all fives. This time I did ask why. She informed me that, if they don’t get all fives, they get told about it from the district manager. Let’s make sure that you understand. I go to a coffee house, I order coffee, the barista pours the coffee and gives it to me, and I pay. How is that exceeding, or blowing all my expectations away? They must think that I have some very low expectations. Can’t you just hear the district manager thinking, “Hold on a minute, they have coffee at a coffee house. That blows my mind. I was expecting lizard juice and they gave me coffee. That is so much better. And all I had to do was come in and ask for it. Besides I was expecting to have to pay a quarter of a million dollars. The two bucks they charged was soooooooo much better.”
I don’t know, maybe I’m a world class genius, but I know that people buy coffee at coffeehouses. Yes, Connie is really nice, and I do want her to succeed, but getting coffee there is exactly what I expect. I don’t think having me lie to her district manager should be a substantial part of her performance review. If the goal is a perfect score, they should change the survey to more accurately reflect my general opinions of customer service.
1) Employee drools on him or herself and won’t look up from their phone
2) Had to call the manager or remove shoes to make correct change
3) Recognized that I was speaking English and responded in kind
4) Everything went pretty well in less than three tries
5) Employee proved that he/she could read, follow directions, avoid talking with friends, and get the order correct all at the same time
You may laugh but if this were the rating system all of these evaluations would have been acceptable at one time or another. Don’t even get me started about that kid at the burger place. (eye roll) That way I could have given several ‘all fives’ reviews since this crazy trend started. There would be no more uncomfortable lying, and I could stop feeling guilty about giving perfect reviews when people weren’t perfect. Don’t judge, you’ve never seen Connie. Hubba Hubba