After experiencing a few challenging interactions as a customer, JoyGenea was wondering, “Should a business owner negatively review another business online?”
Listen in as JoyGenea and Michelle discuss online reviews and how to interact with other business owners after challenging service experiences in a small town. How do you discover or craft a win-win scenario to manage your own business brand after experiencing a negative interaction with someone else’s? In other words, how can one business owner effectively complain to another without inviting reprisal or revenge in a small-town business community?
The answer? Never is as simple as it sounds. Michelle and JoyGenea discuss how to be a better consumer, business owner, and empathetic reviewer in this episode of, “If These Heels Could Talk.”
Michelle mentions a really good PSA video about organ donation in our podcast today.
Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH04JOjzYu4
J: Hi. I need a little warm up.
M: Are you… Are you high?
J: Hi I’m JoyGenea.
M: Start again. you’ve got the giggles.
J: Ok, ok, ok. I’m ready.
M: I really hope we use this
J: We will. You know I don’t cut much out.
M: No, that’s true.
J: Hi I’m JoyGenea with Solutions by JoyGenea.
M: And I’m Michelle, the owner of BadCat Digital and this is the very organized beginning of today’s episode of If These Heels Could Talk.
J: Oh, and welcome. We are so glad you’re joining us today and you’re going to be thankful actually by the end of this conversation.
M: I think so.
J: We promise. Part of our giggle is the fact that we were just starting the conversation and went oh my gosh we just have to hit record. We’ll miss the whole conversation. So, I had a couple of situations. I’m going to bring those stories in shortly but the real gist and what we’re getting at today in our conversation is about the fact as business owners you are not quite an average citizen.
J: And so your ability…
M: An average consumer.
J: An average consumer, there we go. You’re not an average consumer and so…
M: I mean I am an average citizen.
J: Right. Exactly. But we’re not an average consumer in the fact that we – there are consequences or there are additional things to consider when whipping out your mobile device and having an urge to leave a one star review. And so it’s about business to business reviewing and how a business owner, and as a small business owner in a smaller community where if I were to have reached out in the moments… There were two of them in particular where I really wanted to express like a normal average consumer and say you don’t even get a half star. One I’m glad a little time has transpired.
J: That wouldn’t have been appropriate but I also recognized that that would just be traced back to me and that would not…
M: It doesn’t reflect well on you.
J: It doesn’t reflect well on me. Also, I don’t always know the quality or caliber of the business owner on the other end receiving that kind of review and how they’ll experience that. And it’s been known in our industry for some people to not handle reviews well. And to even pass that information, like thereby make it their life’s journey to somehow be super negative about you and your business when that was never. We’ve seen a lot.
M: We’ve seen a lot and we’ve been on the business end of trolls. I have. And you have.
J: And we’ve had clients that have. And we’ve had to help work through that.
M: And the last thing either one of us would want is to comport ourselves as a troll. So how are you an educated, helpful consumer to help people make buying decisions, which is what the reviews system online is intended to be, and not a vengeful petty troll.
M: And the other thing is this: Is there a reason to review at all when you’re part of the business community? If you’re part of the business community and that other business owner is part of the business community a valid reason to have that conversation publicly when it could potentially be private.
J: Could and probably should.
M: That’s kind of what I’m coming at. So, I personally believe and don’t leave reviews that I wouldn’t say in person to the person that either runs the business, owns the business, manages the business or was there on that day and coming at it place of I understand what it is to run a business. And I understand because not everything goes perfectly in my business.
J: Right. Mine either.
M: People make decisions that I don’t agree with and they do it publicly and now I have to pull that back. And so when you’re in a more consumer facing industry than either one of us are…
M: And that happens over and over and over and you have you know 300 transactions a day that you’re not involved in. Stuff happens.
J: It does.
M: So how do I come at it from a place of, hey owner to owner, I want you to understand what’s happening.
M: Because your back was turned and I saw this and I…
J: Experienced it in a manner that I know isn’t your goal
M: I know you would not have wanted me to experience.
J: It doesn’t represent the brand, the business, your company, your standards. And I know this.
M: To me the harder question is how do you have that conversation when you know that it does represent the brand. And the brand just… You’ve got an owner sitting in front of you or a person, a manager or somebody running a business sitting in front of you and saying I don’t understand these reviews when all you want to say is, “Really?” I’ve shopped there. I understand those reviews. Do you honestly think these are all aberrations or do maybe not understand the customer’s journey in your location? To me that’s a harder conversation.
J: Oh, that’s a much harder conversation to have and yet that is a necessary conversation and they may never. I’ve come to understand some people will never be able to step into the customers journey.
M: And that’s-
J: And I strongly encourage them to hire professionals to assist them with their customer experience. Like that helps me to understand. They are phenomenal at what they do. Back to small business 101. You are amazing at what you do but this in particular…
M: Is not what you do.
J: Right. And this will cause a breakdown in your business.
J: And so that’s a challenge.
M: I kind of think about it like if a friend walked in and had toilet paper stuck to their shoe, I would tell them and if I walked into a friend’s business and had proverbial toilet paper thrown in my face I would tell them. This isn’t me being mean or me doing things but the trick is I do it privately. That’s the trick.
J: And timing is really as you were saying that.
M: Timing is important.
J: So it might be an email warm up. It might be a text message. Like it’s really you do have to step out of any emotions you have attached to it.
J: And you do have to step back and be like how would I best want to receive that information and how important is it for today or just at a later date.
M: Is this part of an overall. Do I have any ideas of how this could be improved or am I just whining? Is there some kind of over-arching pattern that I see as a client or customer that can be dealt with? Are there action steps I can suggest? Is there help I can offer? Otherwise you’re just coming at people with more problems.
J: Right and as a fellow business owner, who the heck needs that?
M: Who needs more problems?
J: Right. So I think of it in how can I be effective for that business.
M: But let’s go back what if you don’t know the business owner. This is the scenario that you’re kind of in.
J: This is. Well ok the one situation was the fact that I was at my bank.
J: I was at my safety deposit box inside the little room and everything and I’m digging around hunting for something. It all started with some unclaimed property that my brother informed me was out on the web and I located it and one of the things you had to have was a copy of your marriage certificate and I’m like it lives in here I know it does. Anyways so I’m digging around in there and all of sudden the door opens and a gentleman walks in and he’s like you’re taking way too long and I need something. And I’m like no no no. Out. Out. Like super uncomfortable.
M: This is private.
J: And he’s like, no I don’t really care, I’m getting my stuff right now. So, we have this confrontation in the safety deposit box room.
M: In the private room.
J: Well that’s what I learned later on. Is that so we have this confrontation and he gets what he needs and he leaves and I express my feelings but I did email my bank and said like I experienced this poorly. Like this didn’t feel good for me. What’s up with that? And they explained that because it is a self-serve safety deposit box area that they actually do have a private room you can go into and so if I was going to take longer I should have taken my container and myself over to the private room. Allowing and understanding that space is self-serve and so people are able to-
M: And it’s not private.
J: Right. Having been in a traditional old-style safety deposit box from years ago, I didn’t transfer that over. I’m sure it was somewhere on the little print but I hadn’t transferred it over. And I actually didn’t email them the day it happened. I waited 2 days later. And I emailed the manager and I just said this was my experience. What? Like I feel like I’ve missed something but I also feel like you know the staff should maybe have intervened because if the staff had stepped in and just said you know there’s a gentleman out here waiting can he step in and get something. I would have been like great. That’s fine. Let me pick up my corner, that’s ok. Like it would have just been a whole different experience and I realized it and she said that was definitely something she had talked to staff and they would be more observant of people that looked like they were waiting to just encourage that a little bit more.
M: And in my mind the absolute best way you could have dealt with that. You gave it a little time so you didn’t come at people hot which is good.
J: It was good.
M: You acknowledged that there might be something about the situation that was culturally out of the norm for you so you needed to understand it better.
M: And you gave them a discernable action step that they could have done to make it better. It wasn’t your other customer is an asshole and blah blah blah.
J: Nope. And they were very nice. They called me back. Personally. And they said you know we just want to talk through this and then she explained that you know and I’m like oh I totally get that now. Thank you.
M: Thank you.
J: Trust me that is so like noted.
M: See now if I’m that bank manager I’m doing two things. One I’m making sure there is some sort of very visible signage. If there’s a table in that space I’m putting it smack dab on the table. To say “we love that you are here. This is a self-serve area which means other patrons may come in and out. If you need absolute privacy please do these three things.” Request this. So I’m doing that number one and then number two I’m also discussing it with the staff and number three I’m going back to whatever parent organization I have to to look at the paper work when somebody signs up for a deposit and let them know. So I’m doing three things with the information.
M: Let’s see if that happens.
J: I won’t be surprised if it does.
M: But you gave them the opportunity.
M: And you did it privately and didn’t go ranting on Facebook reviews.
J: Right. Or Google or anywhere else.
M: Right. About this is awful and I can’t believe this and blah blah blah.
J: No. That wasn’t. So that was scenario one.
J: So then literally the next day…
M: Oh no. And you’re probably still cooking from the previous.
J: Ugh it’s there. It’s simmering.
M: Because it’s always there. It’s like if somebody you know cuts me off in traffic I’m a different person when I walk in.
J: Oh yeah. It takes a minute to put yourself in check. It’s like ok. The next day was quite fascinating because I’m still in search of said marriage certificate. Now I’m going to the courthouse to get that certificate and get it notarized and all of that kind of stuff.
M: Of course. So it’s the same errand and now it’s turned into a thing.
J: Right so now I’m like ok. Well since I’m going there and it’s so close to records and this other stuff. Quite a few years ago we refinanced the house and that gut. That womanly gut thing had always said boy that company just did not feel like they were an A+ company. Let’s double check and make sure all of the names were spelled properly.
M: On the deed?
J: And it turns out that was not an issue because nothing was ever turned in on the deed.
J: My name doesn’t appear there. My husband’s name is actually not correct. Like –
M: Oh my.
J: So I’m standing there with this massive breakdown on somebody’s part. And they could tell. Like they were really great. And there like well here’s what you need to do and they told us and I’m like thank you. And I’m like I want to fix this now.
J: Like just I don’t want it on the pile.
J: And so we were able to within a few hours actually fix this through the help of a lot of great people. I have to say a lot of amazing businesses that got phenomenal reviews in the moment truly because they made us a priority and took care of things. It was not the company that made the error. I have not yet approached the company that did not do their job that hired them to do.
M: Ok. How long ago was it?
J: It was 2013 that they did not do their job. And I have hunted down the invoice and I do have dollar amounts attached to that. So I haven’t. Is it an email or a phone call? I haven’t quite decided yet on that level. Where do I start the conversation? I felt like an email but then I was afraid it would just get lost in the email shuffle.
M: I think it’s an email followed up with a phone call.
J: That’s what I’m feeling like.
M: Email followed up with a phone call. Like quickly. Like just to let you know here is the situation that I went through so that you can spell it all out. And then it’s all typed out and written so when you call you can reference that email.
M: Because then you don’t have to tell the story six times to six different people trying to find the right person. So I would email and then give it a couple of hours and then call and maybe in the email say I going to call this afternoon regarding this. I would like to discuss this with you and now you’ve given somebody the chance to have a little bit of time.
M: Even if they haven’t.
J: Oh and I’ll attach the invoice.
J: Yeah and I was gonna say I will attach all of that.
M: And I would also recommend a path of action to make it better. So if it’s refunding the original invoice or paying for the new invoices generated because of the error. Like recommend those.
J: It’s going to be a combination of both actually.
M: Yeah. Probably.
J: That’s how I feel.
M: And ask, and I would say ask for the moon because you aren’t going to get everything you ask for.
J: Yeah. And I get that too. But I have to say standing there in the courtroom. Like-
M: I would have been so livid.
J: And to be a customer like that’s what brought on this topic because I’m like, I want to be a customer. I want to grab my phone like they do in this heated moment. Like an average customer in this heated moment and I want to express how I feel about this company. As soon as I figure out who they are. But I was like that’s just as another fellow business owner that’s not how I would ever want to do this or behave.
M: And I also would say I don’t think that that’s a very good customer either.
J: That’s just it. It’s like I’m not that customer. I’m like how do you fix that problem?
M: So just leave the business owner thing out of it and say I’m not a good customer if I do that.
J: What do I want out of that. Like that’s just venting.
M: It’s a vent. What do want out of venting. You want somebody to listen.
J: And I don’t ever and we’ve both had customers that have had this. There are people in case you don’t know there are people out there that will leave reviews intentionally to get favors.
M: Right. Like the blackmail review.
J: Right, the blackmail review. So that you will give them what they want or something else so that they will then take down that review. Or change it. And I just never that doesn’t feel like an effective way to have a conversation.
M: No, it’s not.
J: That’s not a conversation.
M: It’s not. It’s a kidnapping is what it is.
J: So disrespectful.
M: It is massively. And so I would say that being a good partner in the business community might give you pause and terms of public versus private but I think that just being a good customer and good consumer who has empathy that there are human beings on the other side of every transaction makes you a better reviewer.
J: And I do enjoy having those conversations allowing the business to make changes. And then leaving them that review.
J: Which I thoroughly enjoy being like you know we had a breakdown in our communication.
M: And then leaving them the review that says –
J: And they fixed this.
J: And you know and they really heard me out and I really like I would recommend this place 110%.
M: Like because everybody can make a mistake but what you do with it shows more of who you are as brand.
J: It really does.
M: So then what happens if you can’t leave that review? What happens if it’s never resolved and you don’t get anything out of that company and you don’t get anything as a consumer? What’s your next step?
J: That’s a good question. I probably would. I was just going to say at that point I think I would lay out the super long review that just says here’s my experience. Here’s what I’ve attempted to do and here’s you know.
M: And here’s the result of that.
J: And you get to decide. But I just like eyes wide open going into this relationship with this company.
M: Because you’ve given them the chance to make it right already.
M: So at that point you are a good customer and you are watching out for other consumers.
J: Well that’s just it. I would never. There’s nothing more annoying than having a really bad experience and then looking at somebody’s reviews and you start to just know that they like paid for them or something. You know they had all of their friends and their cousin’s friends say nice things and you’re like but that wasn’t at all what happened. Like some of this stuff doesn’t even exist at this business. I’ve seen it.
J: And you’re like ok got it. Nobody’s wanted to leave enough negative reviews to have that move a little bit. Well and another question I had for the two of us was Google reviews, Facebook reviews, LinkedIn reviews.
M: Yelp reviews.
J: Yelp reviews. Where’s the most effective place to leave a review? Certain businesses are best reviewed.
M: Depends on the industry and it depends on…
J: That’s what I thought too
M: The businesses goals. So from an SEO perspective, Google is your place. It’s your only place for reviews to matter. From a brand awareness and referral perspective, Facebook reviews are kind of it. LinkedIn reviews are still kind of trying to gain some traction.
M: You know it’s almost more considered for the person and not for the brand.
J: Well and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a negative LinkedIn testimonial.
M: There more testimonials about a person and not necessarily a starred review so I kind of don’t even put them in the same category. And Yelp is really focused on hospitality and personal service. So restaurants, hotels, spas, doggie daycares…
J: Hair care.
M: Hair care. Personal bodily service and hospitality is really impactful for Yelp because those are the things that tourists all look at. And Yelp reviews are what show up on your Apple map. So if you’re like hey Siri where’s the best coffee shop near me that will be the Yelp reviews that Apple pulls in to that service.
J: Sure. They’ve teamed up with them.
J: Got it.
M: Whereas Bing has their own review system and I notice we don’t even talk about Bing, because…
J: So sorry Bing but you just aren’t quite there yet.
M: The most popular search on Bing is for Google. That’s actually true
J: It is true.
M: Because it’s people that can’t figure out how to change the default browser on an internet exploder. I mean explorer. To Google so they search for Google on Bing to get to Google. But Google reviews are really impactful for SEO, especially any sort of location-based service. So a plumber, an electrician, also hospitality. Also restaurants. Also hotels. But anything that shows up on Google’s map. I mean if you’re searching for a product, you’re not getting that map, you’re getting the shopping ads not the map. But if you’re searching for a dentist, a plumber, any sort of service.
J: An electrician.
M: That map kind of shows up and that’s impacted heavily by the quality as well as quantity of reviews on Google.
M: Yeah. I think that there’s a larger over-arching topic here because there’s the review and there’s public versus private and I think we’re kind of in agreement on that. You know private conversation should be had privately and if another business owner just as people with empathy if another business owner wanted to discuss their experience with BadCat, I would hope that would do it personally and privately.
J: Same here.
M: So that I could address it personally and privately. And then the trust that we earn from each other by doing that. You know nothing is perfect. Nobody is perfect. And that’s why, by the way, people don’t trust aggregated reviews that are 5 stars. They trust 4.6 and 4.8 more than 5. But because we know that not everything goes really, really well. But the other thing here is how do you respond if somebody does come to you with that? Like as a business owner how I respond when somebody comes to me with an issue or a problem with my business is I think a bigger deal than the fact that they’ve had it in the first place. Because things can be misunderstood just like your safety deposit box.
J: Yup. Exactly.
M: Which I had something similar at my old bank with an ATM where the person – it was like a weekend and like the vestibule ATM and the person before me was dicking around inside and I just needed $20 so I walked in and grabbed my money and she’s like I don’t understand why I’m waiting and I turned to her and I’m like I don’t understand why your’re thinking that this room is private and taking up all of this time when you could have done that in your car.
M: Like you could have done that somewhere else. But you’re not standing at the machine. I didn’t like push you out of the way, snatch your card and throw it at you. You’re over there with your back turned.
J: Filling out your paperwork.
M: Filling out your paperwork. Why do you have an expectation of privacy in the vestibule of a bank. Anyway.
J: But she did. She had an implied expectation.
M: An implied expectation of privacy.
J: Which wasn’t realistic.
M: But I don’t think it was realistic.
J: No, it’s not realistic. What were you suppose to do stand outside?
M: Well that’s the thing it was freaking freezing outside.
J: Ok yeah so that alone, like no. I’ve seen people line up in the vestibule to use the thing. Like ok yeah.
M: It was just a cultural expectation of difference but for her to then review the bank and say that this woman did this to me would have been massively unfair.
M: I mean there’s no signage and it’s kind of one of those like cultural norm things that she and I disagreed on. I mean you know obviously midwestern but I’m from more of a or had been in more of urban environment where people stand closer together. People expect less personal space and now I’m a suburb environment or a small town environment.
J: Where an arm’s or two arms-length is space.
M: Like why are you standing so close to me person who is 5 feet away? It’s like if I can see the white of your eyes, you’re too close. But that’s a difference. The thing is as a customer I don’t always walk in 100% the right headspace. I’ve had, I had a really not great interaction at the grocery store and I scared the poor girl. I’m going to say girl. She’s probably about my age but I scared the poor woman behind the cash register but she had done something that I thought was inappropriate. I did not act the best way I could have. Left. And after I got home was still thinking about went back to apologize to her.
J: Oh, that was nice.
M: Well because I knew that I had upset her and I knew that I wanted to discuss the policy with the manger that I felt that she had not done well. It’s those stupid like loyalty card things. I don’t think people understand that once somebody… Like if I say no, I mean no. And once somebody scans a card number and then I put my credit card in it –
J: They’re attached.
M: Inextricably linked. So, she was like scanning a card and then she was going to throw it away so that she met her quota of how many transactions are supposed to have that loyalty card. Because those quotas I will tell you are insanely high. Like 95%.
M: And so she wanted to meet her quota but I don’t want the card.
J: And you don’t want the attachment.
M: And I don’t want it attached to my payment either. And I didn’t have any cash. Like normally if people have a system where they do that like Red Robin does that. Where they’ll scan it and then put it in the little thing and if you don’t sign up and you don’t connect it, it’s still connected to your credit card number or your debit card number. And the server doesn’t know that. They don’t know how all that software works. They don’t how the database works.
J: But we do.
M: But we do. And we buy those lists from these companies and what they also don’t understand is that the company that they work for says well we’re not going to sell that information and that’s accurate. There not because they don’t own it.
M: The software company that they lease the software from – that runs their POS system and by that I mean point of sale not the other way of POS.
J: Good job.
M: Their point of sale system, they own that data. And they’re the ones who sell it and we’re in an industry where we buy it so we know what happens to that information.
M: Anyway. That rant’s over. But the bigger thing is she’s scanned the thing and then I put my payment in and it was actually already in the little thing when she scanned it so I stopped it. And I kind of stopped mid and I kind of yelled at her a little bit and I was like I said no. And she’s like well I’m just trying to save you money and I’m like oh ok. So just so everybody knows back to the rant. The 5% you’re saving is actually worth way more than that to them which is why they do it.
J: It’s huge. Right.
M: No company out there is just going to give it away for free.
J: No. Your data is valuable.
M: Absolutely. And by the way, it’s worth more than $5 a year off on gas because you bought groceries somewhere. So let’s just everybody realize that. Anyway. So I yelled at her and I was not nice and it was because I was already cooking about 16 other things and shouldn’t have been out that day.
J: Yeah. There a couple of times where we’re not public-ready.
M: That’s right.
J: That’s the truth.
M: I wasn’t public ready.
J: And we don’t have a sign. There’s not something that says oh this one’s you know like don’t talk to this.
M: I was not my higher self. And so we went home and I was just feeling bad about it. I was feeling bad about. We put away the groceries and I turned to my husband and I said I have to go back. I have to go back and apologize.
J: I can just see him looking at you like uh huh.
M: Well and he was like who are you. Who did I marry? Who is this horrible person? That’s so mean. Anyways so I go back and I talk to the supervisor and I apologize and I apologize. I got the opportunity to apologize to the cashier. She still didn’t understand why I was so upset when she was just trying to save me money but it turned out that that what she had done wasn’t policy for the store. What she had done actually violated their policies and she needed some training to know that. So, they were appreciative because they had only gotten her side of this crazy woman who yelled at me because I tried to save her money.
J: Yes. Which is an interpretation.
M: Which is her interpretation.
J: But only one side.
M: Not entirely fair. But had I approached it in my higher self and actually explained to her then maybe that wouldn’t have been her interpretation. So we’ll let that go. But yeah it wasn’t my best self. So had I been one of those petty online troll kind of people I would have gone home or just in my car.
J: Oh, just made it to the car.
M: Whipped out the phone. Facebook review, Google review, all of those things. Horrible grocery store I can’t believe they do this. They steal your personal data and blah blah blah. And that’s massively unfair. So, I really do believe back to the point I that I was trying to make like 10 minutes ago before the rant started.
J: You’re good.
M: That how you walk into a situation impacts how you are in that situation and so any of these customer service challenges can be thought of in multiple ways. So your tactic of waiting and thinking and being calm. Calm.
J: Just bringing it down. You got to get the emotion out of it.
M: Pull the emotion out of it. You know did somebody cut me off in traffic. Am I, you know, was I public ready? Like really should I have left the house.
M: Because there are times you’re just empty.
M: And over it.
J: And if you aren’t realizing that you don’t realize you should just not talk to people period.
J: I have gone out in public at times when I should not and knew I had to do some things and people have talked to me and I’m like thank you. Like all I allow myself to say is say thank you. Like my only words are thank you. Thank you. And they look at me like that had nothing to do with the topic. I’m like thank you. Yup I’m just like you don’t understand. There’s like 20 million things that want to be said right now that aren’t appropriate. Just aren’t going to help any of us.
M: All you’re going to get is a mean sounding thank you.
J: Thank you.
M: That’s all I’m going to say. Well and that day that particular day I remember because I didn’t want to leave the house. And you know. I didn’t want to leave the house and my husband really was bored and was like let’s go. We should go. We should get out of the house. Why are we just watching tv all day. And I’m like you do you man but this is what I’m going to do.
J: And he didn’t understand.
M: He didn’t hear it. He didn’t feel it. He didn’t understand but I tell you what.
J: He does now.
M: After standing next to me in that grocery store when I yelled at that cashier.
J: That he does now.
M: And I felt bad about it and I came back and said I really should not have left the house today and he was like yeah.
J: That’s love.
M: He has not pressured me to leave the house when I shouldn’t.
J: I love that.
J: That’s good.
M: Since. That was pretty good.
J: You know another thing I would want to add to this whole conversation is the power as a business owner. This is also a reminder as a fellow business owner – are you leaving kind and gracious reviews when you’re having really good experiences at businesses. Like the people that rallied around us and assisted us getting that court document and so forth fixed. Oh my gosh like I – you know I right away left them positive reviews and used people’s name specifically and you know.
M: And explain the situation. We get busy and I think that’s a really good reminder. It’s one of the best ways that you can support your fellow business owners. Is by being vocal about their business. And when you do it person when it kind of comes up in conversation that’s awesome.
J: It is.
M: But you can also do it online. It doesn’t have to be and I’ll tell you people are so grateful for that.
J: I actually use it as a once a week form of gratitude.
M: That’s a really good idea.
J: Once a week, I try to recall a business that I’ve used within this week. It’s kind of a Friday near the end of the day thing when I’m like putzing and avoiding some form of work. I’m like ok, ok, who can be grateful for. You know who went above and beyond and I do – I try to leave a positive review in like that was part of why I asked where is the best place because sometimes it is a testimonial on LinkedIn. That’s for them. Sometimes it is that I go on their Facebook page and like it and then leave them a good review. Or that I go on Google.
M: And for you as a coach.
M: That is your best review is a LinkedIn testimonial. For me as an SEO company, Google is my best. So if you have a question, like if you want to leave that review, call that business and say hey I had a fantastic experience this week and I want to leave a review for you but I want to do it in the most impactful way. Which channel should I use?
J: And you know how much that makes their day because I have texted people and been like I had a great time. And their like oh my god that would be thank you. Well and the power of that fact, I’m a business owner, and you’re a business owner and you know, so are other people that we hang around sometimes the power of that too is I’ll be leaving your review and then I’ll remember when there were four of us sitting at that table and I might even be like hey didn’t you have a good time. Oh yeah, yeah. And before you know it like we’re all maybe passing on that appreciation and good experience.
M: It’s so powerful. So what is it about leaving a review as a business owner that’s maybe negative that you would worry about because how is that concern different if you’re a business owner than if you’re a consumer?
J: Ok so you know how I worry about things that I shouldn’t worry about. I have a little bonus gene.
M: I do too.
J: Thank you. So some of the things I worry about when I’m like uh if I leave this negative review might they leave a bad review back at me. Might they choose to just go after my business. I had a client who had his competitor leave him a bad review and then all of sudden he got three or four of these bad reviews.
M: So the competitor was getting his friends to do it too.
J: Yup we traced it back. Gotta love social media. We traced them all back to the same…
J: Circles. And we went wow ok. Like how do respond to that?
M: This happened to a friend of ours by the way.
M: She changed vendors. I’m not gonna say any names but she changed vendors and the previous vendor…
J: Did this.
M: Had some sort of campaign among their friends to negatively review her.
M: And her business.
J: In the end.
M: In the end it didn’t work because she had more people rally around her.
J: Exactly and you just explain it to people. But nonetheless when it starts to come in you just go ok. So that’s a fear. I fear that they’ll tell other people not to do business. We’re a medium-sized community that they might be like you know what she left us a you know a bad review or didn’t say nice things so you know.
M: Why would you do business with her.
J: Oh yeah.
M: Or my favorite. The Minnesota nice way so I’d be careful doing business with her.
J: Oh yeah.
J: Yup. And I’ve heard it. I’ve had people walk up to me that said things like that.
M: I’ve had people say it to me about other people.
J: Yes. So I know it’s there. Don’t pretend it’s not. Or they will bad mouth my business just flat out behind my back.
M: Oh totally.
J: And somebody will walk up and be like you know wow so and so said. Luckily, it’s a small enough town they’ll probably say. Somebody will say something to one of my friends.
M: Right. Without knowing.
J: Right. And they’ll come back to me and be like hey any idea why you know there might be a conversation circulating? I’m like yeah. Here’s what I said. Or at the very like super ridiculous but maybe possible is that they might sue me for defamation of character and they might sue my business and come at me in malicious manner because there are unfortunately people that aren’t always stable about criticism.
M: That’s true.
J: And so that lies in there. I think that’s way out there.
M: I would, without trying to, dismiss out of hand your concern about it. I would say.
J: It’s a $0.00.
M: That there are 16 steps between a bad review and I’m suing you. There might be some opportunities additional opportunities for de-escalation along the way.
J: Oh 100%.
M: But again, because you’re right there are people out there who are crazy.
J: We have seen it. We’ve heard it. And it’s sometimes that’s not in our favor.
M: Right. Well and that’s the thing because we know. The other thing is I mean I dealt with my online troll for a year and half. I mean a year and half of everything that I put out there getting shared and mocked. Everything, every time I put something out there wondering what he was going to say. Every, you know, every turn it was this is how she sucks and this is how she sucks and this is how she sucks and then also worried.
J: And that was in the early days.
M: It was in the early day but it went into I had about 4 or 5 staff people and it was still going on, and so now you’re worried about them and how they’re going to see it and their families. So, we had to have several conversations about it.
J: I remember that.
M: This is the policy. This is the thing that we do. We ignore completely. It’s going to go away because.
J: And they struggled with that actually.
M: They really did.
J: Like they love working for you.
M: There very protective.
M: Even their families like parent. Like their parents were like what is going on. Everybody just needs to calm down. This is how we’re dealing with it. Bullies do go away when you ignore them but it takes a long time.
J: It does.
M: And you have to develop a really thick skin and I still think about some of those early comments and it still hurts my feelings.
M: And it still something that I remember but I remember it in a way that ultimately the bully moved on.
J: He got bored.
M: Because it’s a lot of work.
J: I would think so.
M: Being a jerk is a lot of work.
M: There’s a great ad campaign that I would encourage everybody to look up. An ad agency did it for organ donation and it’s about a guy who is a jerk. It’s about a guy who’s a jerk in every way and there’s these scenes of this guy cutting people off in traffic and throwing cigarette butts at people and cutting in line at the bank and –
J: Just all those things we socially are like ugh….
M: Yelling at people and you know like letting the neighbor dog crap. Letting his dog crap in his neighbor’s like steps. You know like all of these things and then he dies and he’s an organ donor and so he says even the tagline is something like even asshole can turn out to be a nice guy. That that one act of immense gratitude kind of covers a lifetime of dickishness.
J: Yes. Less than stellar performance.
M: Boy I’ve sworn a lot in this episode. I got none do that.
J: Nobody said that.
M: Nobody said that. Are you bleeping me?
M: But anyways so it’s just a really cool campaign and people should look it up but.
J: Oh they will because they’ll have a link.
J: You know what I’m saying we’ll give it to them.
M: We’ll give it to them. But that’s the thing like I think that there’s a way to engage with negative customer experiences that’s helpful and empathetic. Instead of being cruel.
J: I agree. And really keeping that in mind. And as a business owner it’s an opportunity to step into a higher self.
J: And be and recognize what that would feel like from your side receiving and also give that other business owner that kind of grace and space.
M: And the only thing can do in the moment is shut up until your able to step into the higher self.
J: Yes. It really is and fix the problem at hand. Like you know what I mean if the food service is bad, it’s bad. You can get up and walk out. If you didn’t know this you can get up and leave.
M: You can.
J: If you’ve not been served your food and so forth you can get up and leave. It’s not lovely. Or if you received your food and they’re not able to get it right, you’re just going to say you know what like this is a breakdown you know how do we end this. Like just how do we end this?
J: Do you need me to pay for all of this. Like what ends this.
J: Because it’s just not working.
M: By the way as somebody who used to be in a restaurant if you do leave, it’s kind to at least grab somebody on the way out and say this was where I was sitting I unfortunately have to go before my food was ready. If the kitchen hasn’t started it yet it might be nice to tell them to not make it.
M: I’ve done it before. I have left notes instead of a tip when there’s been frustrating service. I remember once I left there were two servers in an overnight shift and they were focally and visibly arguing over, I was the only person in the restaurant and one had kind of taken the other one’s table. Like a thing.
J: We were up past our bedtime.
M: They were fighting about it.
J: Oh my.
M: Out loud.
J: Oh boy.
M: And I just you know the food was ok. Everything was fine.
J: I didn’t come here for a show.
M: I didn’t come here for this and it made me feel really bad so unfortunately, I’m not going to be leaving a tip for this because I don’t know who should get it.
M: And just leaving it at that and now look at you went to all of that trouble to fight about it.
J: And there’s nothing to fight about.
M: There nothing to fight about
J: Like let me make this simple.
M: And by the way, let’s be real clear it was like Denny’s or an IHOP or something.
J: I was feeling a yeah.
M: At like 3 o clock in the morning it would have been. I tip well, like 30%, especially if it’s a breakfast place. I’ll tip 30% because the bill’s so low.
M: It doesn’t make sense to leave a tip that’s a dollar and half but it couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 bucks.
M: That’s what they would have gotten. Like really.
- They weren’t in their best day.
M: No. Well who is at 3 o clock in the morning?
J: That’s true.
M: But yeah I think that the over-arching thing here is we expect a level of empathy from other business owners and that’s why we fear reprisals from them because we expect it and we expect that they will expect it. That other business owners would expect some level of empathy and understanding from a fellow business owner.
J: And respect
M: And respect.
J: I was just going to say respect for the fact that they’re doing their best. They have staff. They have growing pains. You know like all of that.
M: And not everything goes to plan. You know especially when you have staff. They don’t always do the things in the order that you have taught them to or for whatever reason. That things don’t always go right and sometimes it’s an individual mistake and sometimes it’s a breakdown of a process and sometimes it’s just…
J: It just is.
M: It is.
J: It’s the universal time moment. It unfortunately was this moment in time.
M: And I have projects that have felt cursed. Like nothing goes right.
M: You know the things that we do correctly every day just breakdown and they breakdown-
J: And it’s not one breakdown.
M: And over and over and over for this one client making us look like complete idiots and it’s just-
J: We all have that project.
M: There’s only so many.
M: When you can do. That you can have like that. But yeah it happens and I think that’s kind of the thing here is if you’re going to leave a review, try and make it positive. I love that idea of a gratitude practice every week. What have I experienced this week that I can positively review? That stands out in my mind. Rewarding people for it rather than treating it as an “I’m in a bad mood” kind of punishment.
M: As business owners we want those great reviews. We want those testimonials from each other in public and online.
J: Absolutely. So be gracious to other business owners and they’ll be gracious back to you.
M: We hope and that’s the whole point because there’s the concern about they might leave me a bad review to get back to me. They’ll tell other people not to do business with me but my fear in leaving the positive review is what if they don’t take the time to do it back.
J: Then that’s on them.
M: So it’s still a good use of my time.
J: I still feel good about putting it out there.
M: I feel good about putting good things in the universe but I have heard that from other business owners. Why should I take the time when somebody doesn’t take the time to do it back for me? And I’m like well if you tried once you maybe could try a little harder.
J: Absolutely. I was going to say and that’s not the purpose.
J: The purpose is not I scratched your back you scratch mine.
M: Right. It’s not a quid pro quo. It’s a put good things out in the universe so good things come back to you.
J: And as a business owner, that’s always a good plan.
M: That’s how we network. It’s how we volunteer. It’s how we do these things for our community with that spirit. That spirit of giving with open hands and being generous. Not defensive. So how do we approach online reviews the same way? And I think you nailed it – just making a concentrated effort to make that a priority.
J: Absolutely. Thank you this has been lovely.
M: It has been lovely. It started off a little shaky but we got there in the end.
J: Thanks everybody for joining us. We hope you’ve enjoyed our episode and we look forward to meeting with you next week when we talk about lord knows what.
M: And by the way – on topic – if you have enjoyed this episode of If These Heels Could Talk, we would really appreciate a rating on Apple or Spotify. Your favorite podcast platform. Even Facebook. Follow and like on our Facebook page and review on Facebook would really help us out. So we’ll leave it at that. Thank you so much and enjoy your week.