Bad Yelp Review

15 Apr

Yelp and other reviewing sites are nice because they give customers a voice.  Before social media, it was a lot harder to have a voice, and often even if you went through all the effort of snail mail letters, making phone calls, or asking to speak to a manager–your opinion didn’t go anywhere or count for much.  That public component, makes any comments more relevant, and allows other people to jump on and agree also.  It just might lead to change…

But also, it’s a double-edged sword:

-It’s bad statistics, because not everyone goes on those sites, so it catches a certain demographic that isn’t a representative sample.  And like polls, most people with middle of the road opinions do not take the time to comment.  So you get the very bad and very good at either end of the spectrum.

-The reviews are not very accurate for the unsavvy.  Some things a business does are technical, and non-experts do not have the background information to appreciate why things are done that way.  In a restaurant setting, for example, someone may complain that the milk was pasteurized.  This reviewer wants only milk that is “natural” (aka they are a fucking idiot that doesn’t understand science and only hears the latest buzz words) so they left a bad review about it.  But they don’t know that milk is very regulated and it has to pass certain tests to even go to market.  So the restaurant couldn’t legally obtain or sell raw milk.  This also goes for medical.  What is good medicine isn’t necessarily popular w/the public.  Some things are done at the doctor’s office, dentist, and vet because they are science-based and ethical and legal.  And many people are going to be inconvenienced or angry about many of those things.  So giving that bad review lowers the ranking of the business, but is nonsense, you see?

-Someone called in sick and I got stuck working reception at a vet (lucky me) and this high-maintenance client came to pick her pet up from a dental.  Before the surgery day, she had gone over the estimate with the vet and techs.  And they each explained what would happen as they did with every client.  We always explained which costs were firm and which might change depending on what was going on in the mouth.  You can only get a cursory exam on the inside of an animal’s mouth when they’re awake, so there may be many surprises when they’re anesthetized and you can get a better look at things.

Anyway, it was guessed that only 2-3 teeth had to be extracted.  But on the big day, more like 7 had to go.  So the cost was more than the owner expected.  I was the lucky one that had to try to convey that to her, but she went hysterical, started making a scene in the lobby and was screaming and crying.  After like an hour of emotions running high (the owner’s) and price negotiations (on the part of the vet) the owner came out to run her card.  I said something offhand (honestly, I can’t remember what at this point, but nothing crazy) and she hated it and went hysterical again, refused to give me her card, and asked my name so she could give me in particular and the whole practice a terrible Yelp review.  I won’t be bullied so with confidence I spelled my name for her.  She looked shocked that I didn’t get upset or grovel to her, and asked to see my boss.

I got the vet, and could hear the owner fussing about how she didn’t like my attitude.  And I am just not going to let that kind of stuff bother me.  Also, none of this was my fault, I was just trying to check her out and feeling awkward with her scene like any person would, so I did not get reprimanded–as I shouldn’t have.  And P.S.  I checked a few times, and I don’t think that owner ever did write that bad review…

-Which brings me to my next point that it’s not all that fair that 1 really bad or really good review can ruin an overall rating.  People can just be angry and go off in a rating, and actually put people out of business over it.  And if it’s a highly specific situation, or a very one-sided story, or a non-technical opinion that’s not right.

What I really don’t care for is when staff becomes fixated on the online review and panders to it.  It’s lame to ASK customers to complete them.  And it skews the accuracy of reviews if the business asks for it.  Oh well.  So reviews are good for entertainment, but also be a conscientious reviewer and take other reviews with a grain of salt.

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