• Mimi Jacobson C.P.D.T

Reviews and how they affect small business

In this new world of online living, we tend to forget the innate need for human touch and connection to real world living. We shop, read, talk, text, plan, and even gossip online, and sometimes we don't even realise the repercussions of what we say.

Someone took too long to make our coffee that morning and quickly the owner of the shop will see a review online spewing all kinds of hate over a coffee that maybe the new guy couldn't make fast enough. This shop owner has put everything on the line to start this business, and he has hired people that he thinks will be a great team and hard workers. That online review can cut his sales in half in a split second, and in my honest opinion, it really sucks! One 1 star review can bring a 5 star review down to a 3 star, and it will take 10 good reviews to get that back up to a 5 star again. Now as a business owner its hard to get the first 5 star review in the first place, and you can't ask for them. And we all know there are marketing businesses out there trying to sell you reviews, and I have had my experiences with them myself and I will share that below, but just knowing that some business are okay with buying 5 star reviews that are untrue also puts those that want to be transparent and true online in a completely different category. How can anyone compete with that. Now they say there are ways to spot a real review and a fake one and I think everyone should learn that one, so we can all spot the lie.

My experience was many years ago, when I was contacted by a marketing company saying they would help me collect reviews from my clients. They sent me this card format and told me to print them out and have them available on the front counter, and if a client took one and filled it out, I should send it to them and they would post it online for me. I was a bit naive and thought that sounded like a great idea. I think I collected about 6 or 7 from my regular members and I did as I was asked and passed them on to the rep. What happened after that was shocking and disheartening to say the least. My client for the past 3 years, whom I was very friendly with and who loved the daycare wrote a wonderful review about us. That review, using the dogs name and was word for word my clients, showed up online under a different name. Someone I don't even know! I was livid! This happened with all the reviews my clients had taken the time to write out. Not one of them showed up online the way they were written, with the actual dog owners name on it. I complained, threatened to sue and demanded all the reviews were taken down. In no way possible would I allow that to stain my good reputation and hard work.

People are much more apt to write a negative review than take the time to praise someone for servicing them with a smile. That is sad.

I was on Facebook...yup, can't have my business profile on there without a personal page. :( Oh well...so I was on FB and this post I saw showed a sign outside a coffee shop that stated;

A cup of coffee - $5.00

A cup of coffee please - $3.50

Could I have a cup of coffee, please -$2.00

Good morning, could I have a cup of coffee please! $1.00

Now that might not be exact to what I saw, but you get the point. Service with a smile goes both ways. If you want great service, you need to act like a great customer. Walking in with a smile and being polite is the first step to opening up that relationship. You get what you give, as we used to say. A lot of people think these people behind the counter are robots with a fake smile on and ready to take any form of abuse. That's coming...I'm sure...but that's not what we have today. WE are all hoping for a smile and great day, so lets all do our part.

I am a stickler when it comes to policy. And I teach rules all day, so to think I won't enforce rules and policies on my human clients shouldn't surprise anyone. Policies are written to keep the business afloat and running well. When I do my admin work, it's straight business. When I deal with dog owners, it's straight business and a lot of training. Yes, most owners need a lot of training. And when I deal with the dogs, its all boundaries, rules and limitations. Then playtime!

So when you pick up your dry cleaning or grab that coffee the next time, remember that your smile is just as appreciated as the smile and great service you receive. And if it makes your day...go online and share it. It really makes a difference. :)

Mimi Jacobson C.P.D.T

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