Business Cyber Bully
"...dissatisfied customers with even an ounce of Internet savvy can create an unfair disadvantage for [small] businesses. [Small business owners] argue customers are too quick to zap off a bad review, poor rating, or negative ‘word of mouth' without ever giving the business a chance to make it right. ...these highly visible online rants and ravings of the unhappy and dissatisfied can be a real detriment to acquiring new customers." (WordServe Water Cooler)
I posted my first medical review this week -- for an orthodontist (Dr. Smiley*). He's wonderful. But I only found him because I was uncomfortable with the lack of communication that occurred with the orthodontist (Dr. Frowny*) who provided care for our oldest daughter. While her orthodontic needs had been straightforward, our next child in the orthodontic line had complications from a nasty fall as a toddler.
Before I wrote the review, I deliberated about how much information to include. The appreciation I hold for Dr. Smiley comes, in part, as a result of the difficulties I experienced with Dr. Frowny. When I asked Dr. Frowny basic questions, he was dismissive and irrationally defensive. I talked with other moms who had similar experiences. Yet, I doubted my instinct to get a second opinion. So, on the one hand, I felt an obligation to be a voice of encouragement to parents who might be battling that same tug-of-war.
On the other hand, Dr. Frowny has a great reputation, is good with the kids, and produced a favorable outcome for our oldest daughter. So it isn't like the guy's a complete quack. I didn't feel right trashing him.
I decided to share my feedback anonymously. I referred to my children in gender-neutral terms. Dr. Smiley was the only identifiable entity. I gave the facts that led us to him and my conclusion of how the care provided by the two orthodontists differed.
Medical referral sites are a dime a dozen, not to mention individual practitioner's websites and social media pages. Feedback that is honest and objective is a gift to the business owner, the consumer or both. Careless feedback acts like an explosive. The detriment of a slanderous review is obvious. A misleading glowing review encourages trusting consumers to spend resources unwisely.
Has your business been helped or adversely affected by online reviews? What motivates you to leave feedback? Is your feedback a gift or an explosive?
*Not their real names