Today, I received a bad review from a man who wanted my opinion of a doll from my doll shop in Denver, Colorado. He as very insistent, calling my shop several times within the course of 25 minutes to see if I had received the photo he sent me. In fact, he was so hurried, that I stopped what I was doing with an important customer who was making a purchase to take a call from this person and to respond with brevity to his email. I thought I was doing the right thing and that he would appreciate it. He responded to me with this below and then proceeded to leave a bad review on Google for us.
"Thanks. I would love for you to know that you are one of the most rude human beings I have ever spoken with and I will be leaving an awful review of your store and you as a person. I was being very kind and calm not trying to be a burden and honestly how busy can a crappy doll store be? Thanks have a wonderful day."
Reviews like this empower self-important people like this one. I thought about it for a bit and tried not to let it get to me. It is hard when working day and day out to do a wonderful job for all that you serve to be represented on the internet to strangers like this. I worried I would lose business or clients.
My good friend and very successful businesswoman Rebekah Kaufman wrote me an email this evening that was so helpful, I wanted to share it with everyone:
I wanted to send you a "mentor moment," given we do a lot of the same stuff professionally.
I have found, at 52 and doing the bear thing for over 20 years, is that what really truly matters are great, repeat customers who know and love and trust you. These souls will make your business successful and send their friends and business to you. The more you have, the better.
These one-off clowns that make fools of themselves like entitled pricks, act out, and disappear are meaningless.
This business is all about REPUTATION and RELATIONSHIPS and REFERRALS... again, all elements of great, loyal customers. These things take time to develop and nurture, and it is clear that you and your store are strong in all three. These factors are especially key in businesses like ours that sell items that are "nice to have" but not "essential to have" and that require significant discretionary income.
Please note that a "bad" transactional online review from a random stranger does not encompass any of these "R" factors noted above!
The chances are slim to none that someone with 100 Brus that you don't know is going to google "where do I sell dolls in Denver," see your store and a few bad reviews, and go elsewhere. People with these sorts of collections or items that matter go by referrals and do their research. These important and fully qualified prospects will come to you regardless of what third parties will write out of spite or ignorance for reviews.
The chances are really big that someone with a trunk load of smoke filled wigless Barbie dolls is is going to google "where do I sell dolls in Denver" and see your store. If they see the bad reviews hopefully they WILL go elsewhere!
Will you lose a good doll or two because of a bad online review? Maybe. Will you lose an important collection or other significant career opportunity because of a bad online review? ABSOLUTELY NOT, I am sure of it.
Fish where the fish are.
Thank you, Rebekah, for taking the time to send me this email. To learn more about Rebekah Kaufman and her incredible business, I highly encourage you to visit her website and follow her on social media.