Why don’t we say ‘job well done?’


I like to fancy myself as a person who gives others credit where credit is due. Something happened this week to make me wonder if I’m as open with giving kudos as I think I am, or as open as I ought to be.

A friend of mine is new in town and was looking for a new veterinarian for her brood. Of course, when she asked, I didn’t hesitate to recommend the vet clinic

who looks after my own four-legged children, because both “my vet,” and the clinic, whose services and caring have never failed to tickle both me and my pets pink. She told me she’d researched online, and had read a few negative reviews of the clinic, and very few positive ones.

That revelation shocked me on two levels. First, I was stunned that anyone could have anything bad to say about either the clinic or the staff that populates it. After all, my experiences have been nothing but extremely positive, and I naturally expect that everyone else receives the same caliber of service that I do and have heard nothing but the same from other patient families.

The second level of shock came from the fact that I’ve heard great things about this particular clinic all over town, and have since I moved back to Lockhart and started collecting critters, and yet those positive things, discussed over coffee or dinner, aren’t put out there for the public eye.

Of course, then I started thinking about it, partially as a result of a direct challenge from my friend, and realized that I, too, have failed to put my positive experiences with my veterinarian as well as with the many, many other businesses in this area I frequent and adore out there in public view.

And then I started thinking about it, and realized how truly uncommon it is for all of us to pay a public compliment. When I receive exceptional service at a restaurant or shop, I occasionally pull aside the manager or owner and thank them for it, but I don’t put those praises out there for others to see. However, I’m also the first in line to post a negative review on the Internet if I’ve been insulted, slighted or otherwise annoyed by a service provider. Looking over the “Rants and Raves” section of one of my favorite websites, I see that I’m not alone in this practice. There are usually a whole lot more “rants” than “raves.”

Why is that?

Doesn’t it make sense that we should be as open with our compliments as we are with our criticisms? Wouldn’t that be a great measure of support, not only for our local businesses and services, but for the people that provide them? Isn’t it equally meaningful, if not more so, to say “thank you” publicly, as it is to say it privately?

Once upon a time, word of mouth was literally the best publicity. When someone was seeking a new provider, for whatever service, they would ask their friends and neighbors, or other folks they trusted, and weigh those views along with their own to make a choice. Nowadays, though, it’s just as common to execute a Google search, read up on the options and make a decision that way.

It stands to reason, then, if we aren’t taking a minute to support those who provide us with exceptional service, they may not have the opportunity to provide that service in the future. It’s a question of simple mathematics.

If I read about a company that has seven negative reviews and one positive review, I’m not likely to support that business. It doesn’t matter if those seven negative reviews came from the only seven people who ever had a negative experience… if that’s what I see, that’s what I’m going to remember, and that’s what I’ll base my decision upon.

Do we just not think about giving kudos when they are earned? Are we so much more keyed up by bad experiences than by good ones that only the negatives move us to action? It doesn’t make sense.


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