Since the internet has become the primary method of marketing for retail business, online reviews have become the new litmus test for prospective customers. Since www basically stands for wild, wild, west there is no public standard or formal criteria for how a customer evaluates a company. What compounds the problem is the ability to critique with anonymity. When there is absolutely no accountability for one’s words, anything goes. Small business owners are like other human beings; we appreciate honest criticism but with a dash of graciousness. Common courtesy goes a long way and while The Golden Rule is foreign to some, it still holds an important position in how we treat one another in our culture.
As a Scottsdale based European Automotive specialist we are very protective of our reputation. One cannot flourish for over 40 years in the Porsche, BMW, Audi market without providing excellent service. We appreciate the positive online feedback from our customers after they receive stellar service. We are also thankful for honest criticism when we make mistakes. As long as people are involved, it’s important to remember that all companies will screw up; it is how those incidents are handled that can turn a bad situation into a relationship building experience. Beck’s European enjoys an excellent online rating with very few negative reviews. A less than favorable review often catches us off guard. If we don’t satisfy our customers we want to be the first to know about it and have the opportunity to fix the problem well before one takes to opining online.
Rewarding bad behavior.
In considering the psychology involved in the “reviewing” process it is no wonder large corporations focus so much attention in this area. It is eye opening to see how customers engage different industries. I am shocked to see how brutal patrons can be toward restaurants! They will rave about the food, service, and atmosphere then give the business 4 stars, not 5! It occurred to me that some people are simply negative in their nature and perhaps the only areas where they give 5 stars is in regard to what they are personally responsible for. I also noticed that many of these negative reviews were from “serial reviewers”. It appears that some people may use this platform to gain validation and feel a sense of importance. The review process obviously empowers the public to have a voice but it can have a self-serving agenda as well. The irony here is that these serial reviewers have more perceived credibility with one review site in particular (rhymes with HELP but is NOT), even sometimes promoting the negative reviews to the top. Supposedly the site’s filter easily approves seasoned reviewers but casts a jaundiced eye toward a new reviewer. I understand the need for filters but surely there is some middle ground. Here’s a great video that exemplifies the frustration by small biz owners:
Trust is earned, not expected.
Customers DO NOT owe us a review. When you pay your bill our transaction is complete and the only debt still owed is by us to follow up and make sure you’re satisfied. If you are led to post a positive review regarding your experience, we are deeply appreciative. However if you believe that we came up short in any area, we would be most grateful if you would send us an email or call and personally share that with us. As the old saying goes: The shepherd cares deeply for his flock and will do whatever it takes to recover just one lost sheep.