Online Reviews, My Two Cents.
Online reviews can be a great tool when deciding what products and service providers you might want to purchase or use in the future. Short of word of mouth they are probably one of the best sort of referral out there. However having been on both sides of negative and positive reviews has given me a different perspective that if I was just a consumer and not a provider.
In over twenty years as an office furniture professional it has been my privilege to help thousands of companies and people find the office furniture solutions for there specific needs, tastes and budgets. Given the volume of clients I have helped throughout my career, I find it surprising how few reviews I actually have.
I have the link in my email signature. I have used different services and products like WhiteSpark’s reputation builder to try and get more legitimate reviews from happy clients and try to mitigate any issues with unhappy clients that might not have been brought to my attention.
Lets face it, no body bats 100 100% of the time. I haven’t been in business this long without making the occasional mistake, but I always go out of my way to make it right.
If I am going to take an online review seriously there are several things I look for.
1.) How long has the company or person been in business? Are they just getting started? We have all been new at something at some point. I personally am not going to let a handful of bad reviews get in the way of trying something new if it interests me.
2.) How many reviews do they have and what is the ratio of positive to negative reviews? If they have hundreds of good reviews and only a few bad ones, then it is pretty likely that the negative reviews are from unreasonable people, we all have to deal with them eventually. Even if it was a legitimately negative experience at the fault of the business, if the ratio is small then that points to an isolated incident, not a trend.
3.) What is the content and nature of the complaint or negative review? Does the reviewer give a detailed description of the experience, and ultimately do I agree that based on their description that they should have posted a negative review.
Of all the online reviews of my services I know the few bad ones by heart and they all have one thing in common. They are from customers that I know I bent over backwards trying to take care of, but ultimately they were unreasonable people with unmanageable expectations.
Despite that fact, I have never gotten into an online battle with any of them. It is important to respond quickly, in a professional manner. The only thing that looks worse to a potential customer than a negative review, is the business owner or staff getting into a public argument with the customer
So if you are a past or present customer of mine, and you have been happy with your experience. Please take the time and log onto any site that will allow you to leave a review. I would be genuinely grateful for each and every one.
Yes, even on Yelp!, which is at best an organized crime syndicate whose entire business model is literally to extort money from businesses. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the class action suites and talk to any restaurant owner.
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