Monday, September 10, 2007

Negative Reviews...Ouchy Ouchy Ouchy...

I hate negative reviews...and when you own a service business, you will get them! You will not have 100% happy customers, and you must accept that you cannot please everyone all the time. Still, even knowing this, I do seem to take negative reviews very personally. I hate them for several reasons:

1. I wish people would resolve problems with me first before spewing out their frustrations to the rest of the world. Often times, we can come to an equitable solution. But day spas are such a word-of-mouth business that good reviews are important, and while your happy customers only tell 3 other people, your unhappy ones will tell 10 others....worse yet, they will go on-line and tell the world.

2. You can't respond to negative reviews publicly...I mean you could, but you would look bad doing so because it would be perceived that you are arguing with your customer. So you must just pump your fists and beat your chest in private.

3. Sometimes, as on, you can contact the reviewer to try to amend the situation. I've done this with each and every negative review on our page, but have had a response from only 1 of them. That's strange to me - if you are unhappy enough to tell the world about your negative experience with a business, why would you not respond to the business owner reaching out to you to try to make you happy?

4. Sometimes, they respond in the strangest ways. A case in point is a 2-star review (OUCH!) on Yelp! by Kelly K., whom for the life of me, I cannot find in our database. In her review, which I have taken a screenshot of and posted above, she obviously has had some kind of waxing and a massage. Well, armed with her first name, last initial, and her services, we should be able to find this person if they've come to our spa over the last 4 years. Nothing doing...couldn't find her at all.

As for my response, here is what I wrote:

Dear Kelly,

I'm Maryling, the owner of Pavia, and I just wanted to take a moment and apologize to you that you did not have a great experience with us. It IS really unprofessional if I was speaking to an employee in front of you in Chinese, and I completely accept your criticism of that. I usually try to communicate only in English to employees (only one of whom even speaks Chinese), but sometimes I will speak Chinese to customers if it is more comfortable for them.

As for your dissatisfaction with your services, is there any way you could tell me whom you had for the waxing and the massage, as well as what kind of waxing and what kind of massage you had? I would really like to know how I can make it up to you and what I could do to persuade you to give us another chance. I know we can't make 100% of our customers happy 100% of the time, but I can surely try. Thanks again for your time.

In other words, I was inviting her to name her price...if she wanted another waxing and/or another massage, I would have said YES. Instead, she writes back:


I do really appreciate your earnestness. Unfortunately, I do not remember who my esthetician was but it was a brazilian and an eyebrow wax. There was still wax on my skin when I left and the strip I left on my Brazilian was crooked.

Please do not worry about making it up to me. It was not the worst experience I ever I had I just felt it was necessary to post another perspective on Yelp. And to be quite honest, I felt it was necessary to do so because I felt there needed to be a balance to your own postings.

I apologize for not being able to be more helpful. I wish you the best with your business."

Using the information that she had a Brazilian, an eyebrow wax, and a massage, I still could not locate her in our database so that I could speak to the esthetician/massage therapist about it. I am telling you right now, there is NO ONE with first name Kelly (of any last initial), who has ever had that combination of services at Pavia! And, she said that she was only posting to balance my own postings on Yelp - THAT I do not get. I only posted once, I named myself the business owner, and I only gave my own spa 4 stars (out of 5) what balance is needed? So A) she was only doing it so that people would not be swayed by my own opinion of Pavia and B) she may or may not have even come to our spa as a patron! (Mare scratches her head in futility)

ARGH! What gives?

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