I get a lot of surveys. The last one was from Apple after registering my iPhone. I always hate this question:
I almost never give the highest score on any “review” type question unless they really exceeded my expectations. But look at my choices. I can either be “very” satisfied or just “somewhat” satisfied. What happened to plain old “satisfied”? Apple isn’t the only company to do this, so I’m not just picking on them, but they are the latest.
Webster gives the following options for the word “satisfy”:
1 a : to carry out the terms of (as a contract) : discharge
b : to meet a financial obligation to
2 : to make reparation to (an injured party) : indemnify
3 a : to make happy : please
b : to gratify to the full : appease
4 a : convince
b : to put an end to (doubt or uncertainty) : dispel
5 a : to conform to (as specifications) : be adequate to (an end in view)
b : to make true by fulfilling a condition
I’m assuming that they mean option 3 “to make happy”, since the others are more binary (you either carry out the terms of a contract or you don’t) but I hate the way they force you to choose between “very happy” and “somewhat happy”. I think the goal is to force you to say “very happy” since the term “somewhat” is slightly negative. Sorry guys.
I once worked for a very poorly managed company, but I learned an interesting piece of advice from the CEO. We were doing employee reviews and he had three levels one could get: met expectations, exceeded expectations or failed expectations. I asked for five levels (one above and below “met”) and he refused. He has a point. You either did your job, did your job extremely well, or you didn’t do you job.
Adding more levels is sort of a cop out. Let’s assume there is a level between “met” and “exceeded”. The temptation would be to give most employees who did their job this level as a reward: Thank you for putting in the hours and doing your job, but you didn’t quite knock my socks off, but at least you aren’t at “met”.
The real solution would be to emphasize that “met” is a good thing – that an employee is expected to meet their expectations, and that if they get “exceeded” it is a true reflection on their dedication and it actually means something.
After all, what is wrong with being satisfied? I don’t expect every purchase and every service I experience to blow me away. Sometimes its just nice to get exactly what one expects.