Ramble On Ron

Diamonds, Music and other Facets of Life

Rite Of Passage: Bad Yelp Review

Posted on | March 8, 2010 | 8 Comments

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Looking At Diamonds…And Myself” after an interesting customer experience. That experience, along with my reaction to this guy, landed me a negative Yelp review – click here to check it out.

I even ran across Inc Magazine’s article “You’ve Been Yelped” shortly after, which describes business owner’s struggles with this site in particular.

Everyone’s a critic. The cliché has long been a useful way to brush off a caustic remark or a biting comment. But now it’s true — and it’s driving entrepreneurs crazy.

Is it driving us crazy? No. Is it making us think before we react to a customer? Yes.

Now, Yelp does have some other issues, like kicking bad reviews to the bottom of certain user’s pages if they are advertisers. But that’s another issue.

The issue here is how do we, as business owners, treat customers and, better yet, deal with the fallout from negative (and very public) customer feedback? Back in the old days, my grandfather would not hesitate to show a customer the door if they were having a hard time “seeing eye to eye.” But the internet has empowered customers. If you don’t like the service, trash the waiter. If the food is subpar, throw the chef under the bus. And tell all your Facebook friends how that one brand of detergent makes your shirts smell like formaldehyde. So, times change and we always adapt to change around here. But how far do I have to go in dealing with an obnoxious, difficult or even offensive customer? Is the customer always right? Or do I take the chance that sometimes they’re just wrong and let the chips fall where they may? Food for thought I hope. Just please don’t give this “chef” a bad review 😉


  • Peggy Jo Donahue

    Ron, I think you responded on Yelp very well, and it was great that you attached your original blog post, especially because the guy made it sound like you trashed him in there– when actually you were rueing the fact that you might have been a little hard on him. I think reasonable people will sense your sincerity. I read that Inc article on Yelp, BTW, it was enlightening…

  • Thanks Peggy! I hope we responded well. It’s a changing landscape where you can’t just give customers “the boot” anymore 🙂

  • Johnny

    Luckily Yelp is a scam and if you buy advertising they will remove your bad
    reviews. It is their normal business model. In some cases their employees
    will leave bad reviews to shake down small businesses.

    Barring that you are handling it in the best way possible. You addressed it
    head-on and anyone who reads the review will see that you handled it with


  • Thanks Johnny, I hope you’re right and I appreciate your kind response! Yelp does have some problems – I would love to start rating customers and see what happens! 🙂

  • Richard Tilles

    Hey Ron, I thought your article was beautifully written. It was thought provoking and thoughtful, both about your prospect’s experience and your own. I wouldn’t worry too much. After all he said it best in his last paragraph, “if you want to buy an engagement ring ONLY at a store, this would be a place to go, but if you are a curious customer who’d love to look in all different places (stores and online) and does your homework about purchasing a diamond, think twice before you go or before you say anything.”

    There is nothing wrong with that. No one says that a prospect MUST buy from a store, the store should earn the prospects respect. But no store wants to be used for their knowledge and then dumped over a small difference in price. I believe that it is somewhat implicit that if you spend time in a store and you like what they say, you should give them your business. On the other hand, some matches are not made in heaven. And a store, as a privately held business should be able to show the prospect the door.

  • Thanks Richard. I appreciate your comment and it means a lot coming from someone who I highly respect in this business. It’s a constantly changing world, so all we can do is adapt and learn from every experience, good or bad. Hope to see you soon!

  • Susan H.

    I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Ron. He’s serious about what he does, but he SHOULD be when he’s asking people to put that much trust in him (and money in his pocket). I’d rather have someone be honest with me during one of the most important purchases of my life, wouldn’t you?

  • Thanks so much Susan for your kind words. I was brutally honest in this case, but you can’t make everyone happy right? I hope to see you soon!