A recurring complaint in this forum is about clients not closing contracts and leaving feedback. This creates two problems for freelancers:
1) these jobs remain "in progress", creating a perception of heavier workload than is the case, and if the job commenced long ago, also implies unfulfilled work or a negative experience. oDesk also seems to take a negative view if the freelancer ends the contract or if the client doesn't take the time to do so. Clients don't have a strong incentive to do so since their primary intent is just to buy work product. It's tedious work for them with no direct payoff, so it relies on their diligence, knowledge and courtesy.
2) since there's no rating for those jobs, they don't factor into one's overall rating. For truly ongoing jobs, instead of helping a feelancer's profile, this perversely hurts them instead.
I have a feature suggestion that can take the sting out of this situation:
Include a star rating field in the milestone approval and the weekly hours review step for the client. Leave the feedback comment and private feedback for the true end of contract step.
Thus a job's rating is the earnings-weighted rating over all milestones or weeks. This rating can now be displayed even as the job remains in progress, in fact or otherwise.
The advantages of implementing this are:
1) since this is just one field to be filled on the same page as the payment approval, it's very quick for the client to just select the rating. The client isn't required to undertake steps to close contract and initiate a new one. It also doesn't rely on the client's courtesy or diligence.
2) if a clients forgets or neglects to close a contract after work is done, it won't matter as much since the rating is present. That rating also prevents a negative perception of the job, both for prospective clients and oDesk.
3) for multiple milestone or hourly jobs, a client can't hold the freelancer hostage over feedback. Each milestone/hours review is rated immediately at time of approval. A client would have to withhold payment altogether itself for that. Only true scammers will try that. I'm sure neither oDesk nor freelancers want such clients around.
4) those who have ongoing jobs are rewarded as the rating contributes to their overall rating. As billings increase, the ongoing job's weight increases. Also, if a job starts out well but ends badly, the final rating will still be proportionate, even if the feedback comment isn't.
Your suggestion is a lot nicer than mine. It's your 2nd point that has really gone haywire and is causing a lot of time to be wasted.
I have a couple of open jobs. They are in fact ongoing. Today, for the first time, I had my time wasted with a warning email crying about my client satisfaction. It was a complete and utter waste of my time to have to read that nonsense because their review / checking of my account clearly didn't bother to check for ongoing jobs. Clearly it didn't bother to check that I got paid recently as well. The so called review / checking of my account might as well have completely ignored my completed jobs. All of which have 5 stars and with good reason, good reviews. I have no complaints, no disputes, no problems. And still, there's the warning.
My suggestion: Everyone leave until oDesk fixes the problem. If no one is there, their review system won't get a chance to continuously make the same mistakes. Said mistakes have been going on for quite some time now. Anyone can still see so many other posts about it if they need proof.
See? Your suggestion is a lot nicer than mine!! hahahaha
Personally, I really don't want to sit around having to nag clients to close a contract. I have vastly better things to do. Such as stare at a brick wall all day or learn which end of the hammer I should hit myself in the thumb with!! hehehehe And yet, here comes a waste of a warning telling me to improve my client success rate. I would absolutely LOVE to know how that's even possible without having to nag clients about it. That's provided they're even still using oDesk. Funny how they didn't mention that in the email or much of anywhere else that I have seen.
I really don't like having to nag clients. I like having my time wasted by warnings that have absolutely no business being there vastly less. Sure enough, oDesk doesn't seem to think so. Despite the various posts telling them their current setup doesn't work properly.
The one problem I can think of is how will your suggestion fix current ratings and etc that are causing the problem? Otherwise, your suggestion definately has a chance to work right. Unlike the current setup which is causing nothing but problems and lots of wasted time.
I definitely agree with you. I have already been looking into other freelance sites to work from, in case this doesn't improve. I just feel like this whole system is stupid. People have been bringing this up for weeks and nothing has been done. oDesk clearly doesn't seem to care very much about keeping their freelancers happy, especially not with this new job success metric.
Thanks for the feedback Gyan, we'll take a look at your suggestions.
One clarification regarding ongoing long-term jobs. That is, those jobs in which you are continuing to receive payments, deliver work, etc. These jobs will not negatively affect your reputation. True, you don't get the benefit of a final Feedback and other ratings, but these jobs do count positively towards your Job Success score.
Also, I should remind everyone again that the occasional job without final Feedback and ratings will not harm your Job Success and other reputation measurements. We're accounting for this in our Job Success calculation. So don't be overly concerned if there's a job or two in which a client failed to leave these ratings.
"So don't be overly concerned if there's a job or two in which a client failed to leave these ratings."
I get what you're saying Garnor, but the problem is that most of us have more than 1 or 2 contracts without feedback. I myself have 8+ contracts with no feedback, and this number will mostly likely increase.
How do we know when this number reaches a dangerous level? (Where our job success would be negatively affected?) What's an acceptable ratio for total jobs completed vs. contracts without feedback?
unless you're just not staing it clearly enough, I still have the feeling that you may be missing this. When you say
"Also, I should remind everyone again that the occasional job without final Feedback and ratings will not harm your Job Success and other reputation measurements. We're accounting for this in our Job Success calculation. So don't be overly concerned if there's a job or two in which a client failed to leave these ratings."
The thing is, most people on here are not talking about a job or two - they may be talking about ten or twenty dormant contracts that they've amassed over the years (because the clients don't close them). So can you clarify what would happen if I was to close ten old contracts all at once, knowing that at least seven or eight of them would not reply with any feedback because they've most likely left the site??
The alternative is to do this gradually over a few months. The problem I find with this, though, is that for every old one you get closed there is a "new" job just finished where you have to go chasing the client to close up properly - so it's just like walking up a down escalator....
I echo what the others have said... I've only been here since January and I already have two clients who were happy with my work but never left feedback...
What's going to happen when I've been here for a year (if I even stay that long with all this craziness)?
I don´t mean to be rude, but Garnor´s help-suggestions always include terms like "not likely" " a job or two", "may affect", "shouldn´t affect".
It´s need to be more clear, less wishy-washy! Does it or not affect your reputation/score, and if so exactly how and in what measure?!
I totally agree with everyone else about this. It was said by an oDesk representative that "no-feedback scores are UNLIKELY to affect the Job Success score, as they are not computed in the algorithm" Well, my no-feedback jobs were all good and completed successfully to the clients satisfaction, so the fact that they are not accounted for CLEARLY works against my favour!
I have already registered with other websites, and have already paid a subscription with one of them (after reading lots of real member testimonials and checking out the workings of the site). I will continue to work through oDesk in order not to waste the 7 years I invested through the site to get a good reputation (now unnecessarily taitend though!), but I will not give oDesk any money, other that the money charged to me on the oDesk fees.
When you want to have a successful business you have to listen to your memebers and keep them happy. We are being treated, in my opinion, like dispensable assets (if we don´t like it surely there will be other people that will), I do not like this attitude in business. You have to make me feel like you appreciate my work and THE MONEY I AM GIVING YOU WITH EACH CONTRACT for me to want to spend any more effort or money in your business.
Then do explain why I got a waste of time..... oops, I mean, warning..... yeah, warning email complaining about my client satisfaction.
I got stuck nagging a client, exactly the thing I was trying to AVOID DOING, to close a contract that was completed in hopes of trying to raise my client satisfaction. And naturally, that also takes time to update. There was no mention or any sign of the fact that a previous contract was completed and closed from that same client only a few days ago. I even got a BONUS on that job. Was there any checking of that bonus or any other bonus I got from clients? Clearly not because I STILL got that waste of time warning email yesterday.
True, we don't get the "benefit" of the feedback. Also true, we get our time wasted with warnings that have no business being there as well. I certainly did.
It might not cause any harm as you have said. It's clearly not doing much good at the same time in case you haven't noticed.
A job or 2? That's exactly what I have still open. Honestly, I still do have open, ongoing jobs. One of which wants to REALLY get going soon (messages from yesterday) and the other has only a small problem. We're BOTH stuck on picking a topic(emails from yesterday). Neither of us are at fault and neither of us are compaining. It's not that much of a problem because we BOTH are aware of it and we BOTH still want to continue. We're just stuck. In any case, that doesn't raise my client satisfaction and here comes the waste of time warning email.
How do we fix that?
@ Gyan.... make no mistake, I really DO like your suggestion. Currently, it might not be the absolute end all problems idea, but it definately has potential to help. Like I did, if others click the kudos on your suggestion, consider it being done for good reason.