The Good, the Expected and the Bad

Interesting value for money

Image by James Cridland via Flickr

I was just talking about this the other day with a friend. Look around you and consider any service provider, and there are three levels of performance: good, expected, and bad. When the service provided meets expectations, then their performance is “expected”. If its beyond “expected”, then it’s good, and conversely if its below “expected”, it’s “bad”. 

How do we define good, expected and bad? I made the point that if we get what we pay for, then that’s “expected”. If you feel that you’ve received greater value for money, or feel that you’ve been given more than you thought your money can buy, then it’s good. If the reverse happens, then it’s bad. 

As far as customer satisfaction is concerned, when a company performs at “expected”, you hear very little about them. No one really talks about TNB or Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor, simply because there is nothing to say. They give you electricity and water, you pay them, the end. But when either does something either “good” or “bad” that’s when we talk about them — when SYABAS pulls the rabbit of the hat and fixes our water problems on the eve of Hari Raya, that’s “good”, thus we talk about them.

There is a caveat. The bad thing about “bad” is that when it happens, the customer tends to remember it a lot more clearly then when something is “good”. I’m not sure why this is so — perhaps its because bad news is good news and good news is just boring. 

In the local context, setup a website that talks about how wonderful MAS has been over the years, and how it’s service ranks as one of the finest in the world, and you’ll probably get very little interest.

Setup a website that talks about all the sins associated to MAS — the plundering of its coffers by Tajuddin Ramli on behalf of UMNO, the corruption of the sale of its catering services, the near-death (bankruptcy) experience it went through in 2008 — well, then you’ve got a real hot potato that everyone wants to know about.

Human beings are just like that. 

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