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JoeMazz
Member

Deptford, NJ
USA
12 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:03:56 PM  Visit JoeMazz's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
First of all, I see no shortage of people posting for "Feedback requested: XXX company." Whenever this occurs there can be hundreds of replies, too many to really read through.

Personally, I would like to see a feedback rating, similar to that of E-bay. When someone posts the feedback, I would like to know simply if it is Positive, Negative, or Neutral. In the simplest form this can be done by typing it into the top of the reply. However, I'd like to see a more sophisticated system implemented that could log the rating and post it. This would really be helpful to red flag a company that doesn't do good business.

I also feel the replies could be more to the point. E-bay of course, severely limits the amount of feedback you can give. I'd be happy to just hear someone briefly state "This company does not pay on time and their website is confusing; the schedulers are also not helpful." Instead, there are some who choose to turn the forum into their personal journal, listing every event that ever occurred start to finish.

Does anyone think this is a good or bad idea, or can advise if this would even be possible?

Lastly, please don't start any arguments over this.

NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:09:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Karan
Star Contributor

Lugoff, SC
USA
2507 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:19:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote

Karan now residing in the Palmetto State
MSPA GOLD CERTIFIED
UNDERCOVER VIDEO SPECIALIST
{Shopping Columbia and surrounding Richland and Kershaw Counties}
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Barbara N.CA
Star Contributor

San Francisco, CA
USA
2397 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:27:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think having a simple positive/neutral/negative rating for each feedback post is a good idea -- but only if it is in addition to an explanation. If that is feasible, then people can choose what they want to read.

My major objection against a simple system is the issue of objectivity vs. subjectivity. How many times have we come across people telling half-truths, only some of the truth, a heavily biased version of the truth, and etc. -- here on Volition or in real life?

When there is an explanation of how a poster arrived at his/her conclusion about a company, at least the readers can judge for themselves whether the conclusion was logical. Without a context, the ratings lose meaning.

Barbara
MSPA Gold Shopper since June, 2003.
MSPA 2005 "Go To" Shopper
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Tucson Sarah
Valued Contributor

Tucson, AZ
USA
138 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:42:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Can I have a difference of opinion without it being called an arguement. I have learned a lot by the explanations that people give about different companies. I learned the difference between what a good MS company was and one that left a lot to be desired. And what someone would find less than positive might be what I was needing. I am not talking about companies who never pay, but maybe I don't want to lay out $200 for a fine dining experience even if repaid within 3 weeks, and some find that that company is very positive. But just a positive rating would leave that piece of information out.
And, I believe that Ray does keep pretty good control of meanderings, and personal attacks. I have enough trouble following the rules, (that is a joke) to have to worry that I am giving too many details.

Sarah in Tucson
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Paula H.
Valued Contributor

Pasadena, CA
USA
165 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:45:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The idea of a rating system sounds good to me, too. I always check E-bay sellers' ratings and find that a few sentences, when objective, is all that is needed. I realize many people feel it is important to give specifics of their experiences. Perhaps that can remain, but have a maximum word count...the same way some of our shop Comment Sections have a limit on words.

Gold Certified shopper
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Michelle1975
Star Contributor

Newton, NJ
USA
549 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2005 :  8:59:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Perhaps the first step is coming up with a rubric, or some other common ground that shoppers agree on what constitutes a Positive Company Rating?

Here are some suggestions that are based my own personal rubric, albeit a rough one, as it is only a concept I have formed in recent months. I have only been shopping for a year.

Primary Regularity of payments: MSP pays when the say they will, and fulfills this promise consistently. Strictly objective and non-negotiable.

Primary Open Lines of Communication: MSP reps can be easily contacted and respond to legitimate issues within a fair amount of time regarding reports, their requests for clarification regarding reports, acceptance of applications for assignments, and all other matters pertaining to business. Subjective/Objective.

Secondary Professionalism of Staff: schedulers/editors who follow the Golden Rule as it pertains to professionalism. No issues regarding spam, calling at irregular hours of the day, and mutual respect during communication. Subjective/Objective.

Secondary Fair fees. Fees commensurate with all duties required. Fairly Subjective.

Secondary Variety of assignments. Is the work considered "fun"? Does the company retain clients that are "to die for"? Highly subjective.

Secondary Ease of reporting. Am I clearly informed on what is expected of me? Is the website/software program user-friendly? Do the client testing keep me informed on updates? Are the guidelines clearly written, or is conflicting information present?

Again, this is my personal rubric. Note that my primary qualifications for what makes a MSP great, in my mind, are consistency in payments and effective communication. The clients and the fee/bonus schedules are only secondary to me. This is an issue that seems to vary among shoppers, but if we can find a general consensus, maybe we can have a Volition MSP rating system well under way?

Other Volition Shoppers, what do you think? What are your primary qualifications that puts an MSP on your personal Happy List? What do you think?

For what it's worth here are companies that are not only on my Happy List but I also think set the bar very, very high in regards to Regularity of Payments and Effective Communication:

Service Intelligence
Quest for Best
Customer Perspectives
Beyond Hello
Service Sleuth
Service Evaluation Concepts

Michelle
MSPA Gold 3knuvj
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BonnieK.
Valued Contributor

USA
108 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  05:58:15 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do not like the idea of a rating system. I have gotten valuable information regarding ms companies by reading shoppers feedback. I may choose to shop for a company even though it has received negative feedback based on why it was rated negatively. I do agree with the idea of a character limit on responses. As experienced shoppers we should know how to get our message across with a minimum of words.

Bonnie
MSPA SILVER
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NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  06:43:40 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree with Michelle. In order for a rating system to work, we need to establish standard criteria. I agree that some of the present feedback comments tend to ramble on, and reflect mostly subjective experience (e.g.: "After finally applying and applying, I finally received a GREAT shop from Suzie in scheduling, who was so nice and said she was glad to be able to work with me! I haven't been paid yet, but the shop was yummy and I hope to work with them again!")

In this regard, explanations are helpful, but only if they are concise and to the point.
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  08:27:19 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Maybe, if like Ebay, we were given a certain number of characters, the comments would be short and sweet. (e.g.: "Helpful schedulers, Precise instructions, organized forms, 3-4 week Paypal pay. Comes highly recommended."
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ScottNY
Star Contributor

NY
USA
686 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  08:31:40 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
A rating system would come in handy because it would allow you to get that quick overview of who thought what. Some companies make it easy, when you read two pages and there's not one good thing mentioned. Others are trickier, as some companys have two solid pages of compliments followed by a rash of complaints (likely due to a decrease in customer service). In cases like this, if you change your mind about a company (or their service just gets worse), then you simply post again, but generally your positive post remains at the beginning of the thread (where most people start). With a rating system, you would likely be able to change your vote. Whenever I look at ratings like this, I always look at two things: What percentage of votes are negative, and what are the comments for the negative votes? Reading the thread makes it difficult to determine exactly how many readers gave a positive or negative comment, particularly because people post multiple times in a thread format.

I agree that comments accompanying are necessary for this method, though.

A couple sites that have decent company rating plans (with comments) are Epinions and BizRate.

If the ratings take off, the rating system and MS company list could be combined into a nice little table where you could see the list of companies with their ratings, sortable by name/rating/number of comments. Of course, we're just brainstorming here, right?

MSPA Silver Certified!
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Nora
Star Contributor

PA
USA
6341 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  08:38:06 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a great idea for presenting feedback that is short,sweet, and to the point. More comprehensive feedback would always be available through running a search through current and archived threads.
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  11:06:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Joe, this is an absolutely fabulous idea. Like you, I dislike filtering through the emotional feedback. I just want to know, like Michelle mentions, how the company pays and communicates with us.

In my opinion, there should be a list of companies with stars to the side of them. The stars would be determined by ICs voting on objective factors; i.e., payment schedule, fair pay, and communication. From there, everyone could quickly review the ratings of the MS companies. And if need be, click on a link to visit the MS Forum and read the lengthy feedback there.

MSPA Gold
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3071 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  1:02:46 PM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is not a new question. It is one we talked about years ago. I even got software that would run it adding stars next to each company based on votes. But after much debate the overall consensus was that it was a bad idea.

Is it possible? Yes.
Would the rankings mean anything? No.
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Andrea_Calif
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  5:23:47 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I take the poster into consideration when I read feedback about MS companies. The opinions of certain posters have earned my respect over the time I have been reading these forums. On the other hand, there are a few posters (no matter how well intentioned) that simply make me roll my eyes when I see their name.

In summary: I like the idea of a rating system along the lines suggested by Michelle, but without seeing the specific comments, it wouldn't hold much meaning.
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

MS
USA
1285 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  5:30:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
While ranking systems sound appealing at first thought, I find the comments on companies more valuable. Being somewhat detail oriented, I like to know exactly what shoppers I respect have to say about different policies or opportunities. This means more to me than a simple rating. One person's 'average' is another person's 'fabulous.'

MSPA Gold Shopper
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6556 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2005 :  09:25:50 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
If we were to do this to companies, it probably wouldn't be long before they wanted to do it to us. How would you like to have your rating by each company posted here for all to see? There are lots of issues that arise with companies and some are personal in nature. As others have posted, it also depends on who is posting the negative comment and what the situation was that determines if I am going to believe it or act on it. I have seen shoppers post negative about companies when they have been the one at fault, for not following instructions, etc. I don't think this would be a good idea.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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NatalieH
Contributor

USA
8291 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2005 :  3:45:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Rating an individual and rating an entity such as a company or business, are two different things. I would hope that shoppers and schedulers alike would have enough class not to air personal dirty laundry.

Standardized ratings would help maintain objectivity in regards to feedback, and would assist in weeding out those cases of people who are simply ranting over an isolated incident.
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KellyBear
Star Contributor

Fairfax, VA
USA
1198 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2005 :  4:24:24 PM  Send KellyBear an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think it's a good idea. Often times, I'm not going to wade through 10 pages of comments to pick out what could be summed up with a 1-10 rating. I wouldn't stop reading the threads, certainly, but if I want a quick rating, I like the idea of a number system. The threads are a great place for people to talk about stories, but a company with, say, a 2/10 rating out of 75 votes doesn't necessarily need 10 pages of people saying "They pay slow" or "The forms are hard to fill out," etc.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6556 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2005 :  5:12:49 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
My main point is the ten pages are sometimes needed. One shopper states so and so did not pay and they did everything they were supposed to. After other readers look at the details the shopper realizes they did not follow the instructions. However, a rating has been placed. Or, a shopper gets aggravated due to late payment, states they have called and emailed, only to find out they have not done so by one of the company reps. Again, a rating has already been placed. This happens a lot on this forum and people go back and even remove their posts. However, if after reading ten pages, you see that 95% of people have had similar, not exact issues happen and it has been going on for years, you can make a rational summary yourself. Sometimes, they are not even posting about the right company.Unfortunately, "airing dirty laundry" can be subjective and not everyone has the same experiences with companies, shoppers or schedulers.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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JoeMazz
Member

Deptford, NJ
USA
12 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2005 :  1:40:03 PM  Visit JoeMazz's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Pam,
You stated that there might be trouble if the mystery shopping companies started to give us rankings as well. I don't think that's such a terrible idea; it would hold us accountable for quality work, and would reduce people instigating bad relationships with companies. Everyone would be held personally responsible when "airing their dirty laundry."

Look at it this way...
I'm sure you work for a thousand mystery shopping companies that are satisfied with your work. Any negative feedback from a company would be just the minor exception, and you would have a great rating otherwise. A primarily positive rating would make your comments respectable.

On the other hand,
If there are a few bad apples that fail to comply with instructions, rules, and post negative or false information, the company will surely bite back. If I saw a primarily negative rating for a shopper, I probably wouldn't hold their opinion or comments in the highest regard anyway.

You also stated:

"if after reading ten pages, you see that 95% of people have had similar, not exact issues happen and it has been going on for years, you can make a rational summary yourself".

Well, this is exactly the point. With a ranking a person could easily see that 95% of the comments for the company were positive or negative. There's no need to read through ten pages of everyone's lengthy story to make that rational decision.
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