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Can you replace 'Availability' rating?

jessicasimko
Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
1 of 15

I have noticed that in many of the (few) jobs where I get a star knocked off in feedback it's for availablity and it burns me up every time. I do mostly one-off jobs therefore I book them up to a week ahead of time. At the time, the client fully agrees to it. But in the end, may knock off a star for it. This doesn't seem fair when its agreed to at the outset and I have heard other freelancers say the same thing.  And I have had clients tell me that's why they knocked off a star - because they had to wait several days for me to do it... even though they AGREED to it.

 

I think what "availability" means, in terms of feedback, is how responsive is the freelancer...  correct? Is the freelancer available for questions, discussions, etc. I don't think that is how all clients take it. They think "how available were you to do my job" and yea... if they had to wait several days, or a week, then I can see why they knock off a star. But they AGREED to it or I wouldn't have accepted the job.  'Availability' is something agreed to ahead of time so I am not sure it needs to be rated. If the deadline is missed, it can be reflected under the "deadlines" rating so why not just change availability to 'Responsiveness"...?  

 

I am very responsive to clients even if their job is a week out. Sometimes I chat with them about different things I need throughout the days before I complete their job.  I find that every time I finish a job on time or even ahead of schedule, but was several days from when I accepted it, I feel about anxious about it. Those of us who do one-off jobs can't do all their jobs immmediately.  I think I do a great job managing my workload and keeping to my deadlines but I would like to see the 'availalbity' rating go away and just replaced with 'responsiveness' as it means the same thing and then can't be misinterepreted to mean "well, I had to wait several days (even though I agreed to that)". 

vladag
Community Manager
Vladimir G Community Manager Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
2 of 15

Hi Jessica,

 

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I'd like to ask other users to weigh in and share their experience with this rating, and if they are getting the same impression based on the feedback they received.

Untitled
petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
3 of 15

I totally agree with Jessica. Changing the wording around would make a hell of a lot of sense. It really IS meant to measure responsiveness of the freelancer during the contract rather than being available to drop everything instantly and do the job straight away.

 

I do not believe I was ever marked down on that, but I can see how it could happen so much more easily with the word "availability" than the far more accurate "responsiveness"

jessicasimko
Community Guru
Jessica S Member Since: Dec 4, 2015
4 of 15

@Petra R wrote:

I totally agree with Jessica. Changing the wording around would make a hell of a lot of sense. It really IS meant to measure responsiveness of the freelancer during the contract rather than being available to drop everything instantly and do the job straight away.

 

I do not believe I was ever marked down on that, but I can see how it could happen so much more easily with the word "availability" than the far more accurate "responsiveness"


Exactly. Even I think of it that way.  If I hired someone and they said, "I won't be able to do that until next week", I might agree but not exactly be thrilled about it and then knock a star off for it at the end because yea, they weren't exactly available when I needed them.  But since it's agreed up ahead of time, why would there be a rating for it when the feedback really IS asking for how responsive you are.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
5 of 15

It's not clear to me that a separate category is required at all, given that we have "communication" and "deadlines".

 

Communication covers responsiveness and deadlines cover timelines. What else does "availability" reflect?

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 15

@Tiffany S wrote:

It's not clear to me that a separate category is required at all, given that we have "communication" and "deadlines".

 

Communication covers responsiveness and deadlines cover timelines. What else does "availability" reflect?


 I am inclined to agree to a point, but removing one would skew past results, replacing it with something unrelated would do the same, whereas just renaming it could be done in minutes and would still reflect what is supposed to be reflected, just better 😉

 

I am also not sure if Responsiveness is covered by communication and deadlines.

 

Communication is also "does the freelancer manage to make me understand what I need to understand, do they communicate well and effectively about my project" and "Deadlines" just means "Did I get my stuff when I was told I'd get it, or earlier!"

 

Responsiveness is pretty much "When I ask her a question, do I get a meaningful response in a reasonable time" and "How does the freelancer respond to my requests and feedback, and when?"

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
7 of 15

@Petra R wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

It's not clear to me that a separate category is required at all, given that we have "communication" and "deadlines".

 

Communication covers responsiveness and deadlines cover timelines. What else does "availability" reflect?


 I am inclined to agree to a point, but removing one would skew past results, replacing it with something unrelated would do the same, whereas just renaming it could be done in minutes and would still reflect what is supposed to be reflected, just better 😉

 

I am also not sure if Responsiveness is covered by communication and deadlines.

 

Communication is also "does the freelancer manage to make me understand what I need to understand, do they communicate well and effectively about my project" and "Deadlines" just means "Did I get my stuff when I was told I'd get it, or earlier!"

 

Responsiveness is pretty much "When I ask her a question, do I get a meaningful response in a reasonable time" and "How does the freelancer respond to my requests and feedback, and when?"


 I agree with this, but a freelancer who isn't responsive is by definition not communicating well, no?

 

I feel like there's a heavy overlap in that area, maybe giving it too much overall weight, and nothing about knowledge (skills, yes, but they aren't necessarily coincident). The end result is that 2/3 of the score is about project management/customer relations and only 1/3 qualifications and quality of work. That seems skewed to me.

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
8 of 15

@Tiffany S wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

The end result is that 2/3 of the score is about project management/customer relations and only 1/3 qualifications and quality of work. That seems skewed to me.

 We don't know how the various areas are weighted within the score.

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
9 of 15

@Janean L wrote:

@Tiffany S wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

The end result is that 2/3 of the score is about project management/customer relations and only 1/3 qualifications and quality of work. That seems skewed to me.

 We don't know how the various areas are weighted within the score.


 Yes we do, or at least I used to 🙂 I do remember quality and skills weighs (or weighed) most heavily

jmlaidlaw
Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
10 of 15

LOL on this --

 

I used to receive end-of-the-series evaluations on my quality as a test-prep instructor for an extremely well-known test-prep organization, one that takes its students' opinions/evaluations VERY seriously. The evaluations were completed anonymously, but after the results were tabulated, I was encouraged to look them over and read the students' ratings and comments. Happy to say that I routinely received high marks. However, the one and only area that left me bemused and slightly irritated was a question that read (I believe I am quoting verbatim) "Instructor made him/herself available after class for extra help: 1  2  3  4  5 "  

 

Now, I almost always received 5s on this criterion -- as I believe was only fair, because I stayed after each class until the very last student who had stayed after class was gone. And before class had even ended, I always reminded students that I would be staying after for any help they needed. So, any mark of less than a "5" on this criterion was always very, very puzzling to me -- unless the mark was a "1," in which case it was always clear that the student had confused 1s for 5s for "outstanding," all the way through the evaluation, and in such a case the admins just reversed/inverted the numbers for that students' scoring.

 

But here's the real head-scratching part:  I could always understand why, while most of my students gave me top marks for criteria such as "made the subject matter understandable" and "was expert in the subject matter," there could be a few outliers whose subjective experience of my teaching and of the class was at variance with that of others. But as to this very OBJECTIVE, fact-based criterion ("availability"), there should have been no real variance:  I either WAS or else WAS NOT available (physically present) after classes, open to questions, ready to help. Yet, there was occasionally a student who gave me a "3" or a "4" in the midst of a sea of "5s" on that criterion. In such a case, that student's evaluation almost invariably was an outlier in other areas, as well, and was overall medium and low, and it was clear that the student had simply not been happy with the course, or else had just taken a disliking to me.

 

This same reasoning does not quite apply to "availability" as to a freelancer on Upwork, because each individual client's experience may differ (as opposed to the idea of one individual student claiming to have a different experience of an objective fact than did other students in the exact same group). However, my general point is to agree (propose?) that a client who has had a good overall experience, but who has a niggling sense of vague dissatisfaction (because of wait time, even though it was agreed to beforehand), may, indeed, choose "availability" as a relatively "neutral" place to mark down a freelancer. Indeed, a client does not wish to believe that he or she has hired a freelancer whose quality or skills are less than excellent (because then what does that say about the final quality of the deliverable??), but a client who is inclined to be a whiner, through no fault of the freelancer (just as I had rare students who complained that I was "not available" when, in truth, I never left until "the last dog died"), may choose to nick the freelancer on "availability."

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