Let me start this by stating I’m an avid reader.  Ok, so I wasn’t born this way.  I married an English major, need I say more?  However for years I still was not motivated to go to the bookstore and search for something I wanted to read, but rather waited on her to place a book on my side of the bed (which indicated she wanted me to read it).  Then she bought me a Kindle.  Wow!  I went from reading two books a month to two books a week.  I actually get very excited when I finish a book, because I know I’m going to shop for a new one.  The best, yet the most frustrating, part of shopping for a new book is the Kindle rating system.  Unlike my typical online purchases where the star rating system is strictly a measurement of the general feel of a product, I actually read the readers comments.  I can find a book with a rating of (344) 5 Stars and (23) 1 Stars, and I skip right over the 5 stars and read the 1 star comments.  Yes, I have actually chosen not to read a book based on some yo-yo’s comments about the context not being “historically correct”.  Based on the 1 star comments, I probably missed out on a great read; however at the time of purchase, that simple statement hung over me like a black cloud, and I just couldn’t get passed it to click “Buy”.

If I was an author, I would cringe at this rating system.  There is something personal about putting so much effort into something and then having someone you don’t know judge you.  But doesn’t that happen to all businesses?  I guess these authors are lucky to be able to read the negativity and make adjustments in their next book, while hanging their hat on the “majority rules” theory when their books are rated highly.  But for those of us that rely so heavilty on word of mouth advertisement, how do we measure our star ratings?

I feel confident that we provide 5 star service at CenterEdge based on the numerous comments from our customers; however what keeps me up at night is the potential for a 1 star complaint.  What can we do better?  What are we forgetting?  How is that install going?  I’m sure most in the business world can appreciate the “what if” nightmares that frequent my thoughts.

I was reading one of my favorite industry bloggers, Beth Standlee with Trainertainment, in an article she wrote called “The Price of No Return”.  The article talks about the subjectivity of pricing, and how to determine the happy medium.  In the article she uses an example of Starbucks coffee, and how they have raised their prices.  Beth states that although their service is great, the price is too much to bear and she will no longer purchase their coffee.  What a great example of 5 star service versus 1 star complaint.  Although Beth’s buying power, no offense to Beth, will not hurt Starbucks, if given the option between Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, I’m quite positive her comments will cross my mind now.

So I’m curious, how do you measure your rating system?  Do you have systems in place to gather comments/complaints?  Do you adjust accordingly?  Do you monitor facebook and twitter for feedback?  Do you have software tools to assist in managing your customers?


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