I just got yelled at, and I’m not used to being yelled at. A very angry man berated me over the phone for giving his company a mixed review online and a 5/10 star rating. He said it was all lies, he was going to take me to court, he would not honor the warranty, and he was going to send the recordings of my phone calls to the online review website people. So I hung up on him.
I won’t go into the details of the interactions I have had with this company, but suffice it to say the technicians did a good job and they were courteous. The quotations and the billing, however, left something to be desired. I have dealt with enough tradespeople and service providers to know that when the quotations are given orally and the billing is not itemized, there is going to be a mismatch between the two. That’s what happened here. Anyway, his version of what happened isn’t the same as mine.
What is most interesting about this is that his response was entirely wrong for the world of online reviews. What he probably should have done was to reply online, directly below my review, to suggest that we talk about my frustrations. He could even say it was a misunderstanding if he liked, I don’t really care. Instead, he called to bully me.
Fortunately my son was in the room at the time and heard his rant. He was as shocked and dismayed as I was. We both agreed that business owner took the wrong approach if he wanted me to take down or rewrite my review. In fact, my son suggested that I go back online and add that he had phoned to yell at me! I won’t do that, but it’s a tempting idea.
All of this leads me to think about online reviews and the value of them. I often use them when I am seeking tradespeople to hire because they help me to understand what people have actually experienced. I don’t expect everyone to get an excellent rating every time, but if the reviews tell me the work was good and the price was fair, that’s usually good enough for me.
When reviews are negative, I can usually tell if the writer was a difficult customer or if the bad experience was an anomaly. When a review is bad, a conciliatory response from the business will always give me a good impression of them. I value their attempt to fix the problem higher than I value the complaint.
I try to make a point of giving positive reviews when they are warranted, and if I have something negative to say I will balance that with the positive attributes of the goods or services. If online reviews are to have any value at all, they have to be fair and honest. Oh, and the reviewers probably shouldn’t get yelled at by company owners. That is likely to create more problems than it solves.
I’m going to lick my wounds for a while and will hesitate before writing another review, but I will continue to provide feedback. If I’m going to use other people’s assessments, it’s only fair that I provide my own–and then stand well back.