CEO’s Letter: Baker’s Not “Faker’s” Dozen Explained

I get asked all the time by practitioners and providers alike if there is a secret ingredient in the HRO Today Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings™. There are actually two ingredients and they are not “secret.” The first is more fuel than an ingredient. HR executives respond to Baker’s Dozen surveys as a favor to their colleagues and the community to share their experience with the vendors. The second is that we present the data simply as we get it. However, it has come to our attention that some providers have made some assertions about the Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings™ that are simply not true, and we want to dispel any misconceptions.

First of all: Listen to us, not the providers. We have an over 93% credibility rating by practitioners. You do not get that unless you run a fair process year after year and build up to it. Providers happy with their ratings praise the process and those who disparage it typically do so because they do not like their rating. That kind of “spinning” is to be expected.

Like the name, the Baker’s Dozen is limited to 13 companies at most, however, we occasionally publish less than 13 in the ranking. There are more than 13 providers in any ranked service area of the Baker’s Dozen, so if we publish a list of less than 13 it is usually due to the following reasons. Sometimes, it is because we have an insufficient number of providers who qualify as we have stringent parameters for the number of surveys required and the variety of companies required to ensure we have a statistically significant sample. In some cases, the gap between number 12 and number 13 is so great that we do not publish the data. If the 13th provider has bad ratings, we may not want to embarrass them or frankly, be seen to be endorsing them by placing them on the list albeit at the bottom.

A provider may tell you that while they have been on the Baker’s Dozen in the past, “they did not participate this year.” We do send a link to providers to forward it to their clients. However, it is NEVER their choice to participate or NOT participate. We get a lot of surveys without the providers “cooperating.” If we have enough surveys, they get rated whether they like it or not. In fact, we can often predict by how much they resist the process what they themselves think of their prior year of customer service.

Most people who have been in a train wreck know when they have been in a train wreck.

HRO Today cannot allow providers to opt out of the Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings™ in years when they have had client complaints and come back in years when they do not. Because we do not divulge data on providers that are not published, unfortunately for the readers, you do not know if they had an insufficient amount of surveys or if they had dismal scores and fell below the 13th slot. The real question is: Do you care? If a provider cannot get positive customer satisfaction surveys from 13 companies, do you really want to do business with them? If a provider fell below the list cutoff and you are looking for a top tier provider, would you want to go with someone not on the list? The short answer to both questions: DON’T.

Unhappy providers may also tell you that the survey process is flawed and not credible. We hear that mostly from companies in years when they do poorly or fall off the list. Those same providers who criticize in one year are always first in line to get a press release quote when they do well in another year. Fact is the providers have enormous incentives to down play the ranking and they are never impartial.

This is not to say that the Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings™ is the only barometer for the selection of a service partner. If you have a question, don’t let the providers explain, deny, or comment on their ranking or lack thereof. However, if it is important to you -like the 93% of your colleagues –please reach out to me for more information.

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Tags: April 2022, CEO's Letter

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