ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Friday, February 04, 2011

yelp reviews

i don't know why, but i felt compelled to exchange a series of messages on yesterday with a total stranger who had written a very negative review of one of my favorite local businesses.

actually, i think it's partly due to the fact that i had just read this blog post by the owner of another local business i like, SF's True Massage & Wellness, which got me thinking & empathizing about the serious impact a few thoughtless negative yelp reviews can have on a business. and also probably because i'm just naturally a busybody. :-/

anyway, here's the exchange.

his original review, rating the business one star (out of five):


Jim G. - one star

So I received a call back about setting an appointment for a haircut. The woman asks what I need done. I say haircut for short hair and if possible an appointment today. She says Tim is available at 12 noon and he charges $85 a cut. I said that I had seen a $30 discount on Yelp for first time cut. She says yes and then silence. I ask her if Tim specialized in men's cuts. She says verbatim "none of my stylists specialize"..... and then silence. I said Ok.... does that mean he cuts men's hair?? She say's yes with another silence. I said that I will be getting back to you and hung up.

I feel bad for this office and Tim in particular for having such a rude receptionist and or stylist who returned my call. I'm sure he is a wonderful stylist to which I was never given the pleasure to meet. My recent stylist moved out of the city so had there been a welcoming return call, they would have had my continued business.

Thanks for making my decision easy for my business as well as referrals.


here's our message exchange:


(me to Jim G.)

i'm not affiliated with the salon in any way, other than as a longtime customer, but i just wanted to say that i think your review was unfair, and i wish you'd consider revising it. (i'm writing to you directly only because there's no way on yelp for me to mark your review publicly as "unhelpful" or "unfair.") if you didn't even get a haircut there -- or even attempt to schedule one, from what you said -- it seems incredibly harsh to give them one star. that can have a serious effect on a business's overall yelp rating. in my six years of going there, the stylists and assistants are all incredibly nice and helpful people. one *arguably* slightly less-than-friendly receptionist does not make an otherwise truly excellent business worthy of a one-star rating.

i wish you'd think about this and consider revising or deleting your review.



(Jim G.)

Well I'm glad to hear you've had a great experience with this company. Mine however, was not. I stated in my review that I held no grudge against the stylist's themselves. The purpose of yelp is to review and encourage businesses to treat people in a fair way. If the company was that worried they would email me themselves. If you want to fight their battles then go into PR. Read the review carefully about what I stated and send me a message a little more noteworthy.



no offense, but it's not even totally clear from your review what the receptionist did wrong. you asked her a series of questions and she answered them.

i do think you're right that sometimes the receptionists there can come across as a little cold, which i agree is not a great feature for a business, especially because the receptionists provide the first impression for new customers, and that could easily turn someone off from using the business at all, as obviously happened with you. BUT, that is just one tiny piece of the experience of using that business as a whole, and it is far outweighed by the awesomeness and kindness of the people providing their actual, you know, services.

in sum: my point is just that since you didn't even end up using their services, that doesn't seem (to me) to merit the lowest possible rating for the entire business. i just think that's vastly disproportionate to what they did wrong. but, that's just according to my moral system -- maybe not yours.


(Jim G.)

well it's interesting how 3 people found the review to be useful. As previously stated, the company should take pride in customer service and admit fault when present. All that was needed was a phone call saying sorry for your experience. Simple, to the point and shows concern.



sure, but then, there's no button to mark a review as "unfair" or "petty" or "mean-spirited." oh well -- agree to disagree!