Recently, my parents looked into buying a walk-in bathtub for a family member.

My mom made the initial call, the salesperson did their job selling her on the benefits of the product and set a time to come out to take measurements for an estimate.

By the time I first heard about it, my parents were pretty much set on and excited about this purchase that would save a lot of hassle.

Looking at the ad my mom had ripped out of a magazine (yes, print still works!), I eyed the name of the company and went right to Facebook to see what others had to say about their purchases.

Had the company not had a Facebook page, I would have been instantly suspicious. While this company had a page, they had turned off the review feature and the ability for others to post on their page. While I get that it can be a lot for business owners to manage, responding to questions, etc., why disable reviews?

A quick scroll answered that question.

Each post made by the company showcasing their product was met with numerous negative comments.

• The company they contracted with to do the installation damaged flooring and cabinetry, and no one was willing to take responsibility to fix the damage.

• The product didn’t work as expected and the 100 percent money back guarantee wasn’t being honored. In fact, they couldn’t even get their calls returned.

• The tub leaks and is unusable.

• The person who came to the house checked the plumbing and said everything was good to go, but when the contracted company came to do the installation, $1,500 in plumbing work was required.

On and on it went. The complaints were rolling in with no response from the company. These people were mad and wanted customer service. And in the absence of that, they turned to the internet to vent their frustrations and warn other consumers.

Online ratings and reviews play a big part in purchasing decisions. A recent survey of internet users found that only 11 percent of consumers don’t care about reviews and ratings when making a purchase. That means 89 percent care and will take those reviews into consideration before making a purchase.

For those targeting the all-important millennial group, 59 percent say they always check online reviews before making a purchase.

So how do you get your satisfied customers to take the time to post a review? Daniel Cristo has some great tips and examples here, including my favorite … simply asking. Sending a personalized email with direct links to review sites does work.

Side note: Review Generation is a service we offer here at Tru Measure.

Needless to say, my parents cancelled their appointment with this company. When the salesperson asked why, my dad told him the truth. “We saw what people were saying about you online and we don’t need another mess on our hands.”

 

Jamie Butow is a Partner Manager at Tru Measure, specializing in social and online reputation management. She has an undergrad degree in journalism and a Master’s degree in media psychology.