On The Nature of Online Reviews

I was just browsing through K&L's Yelp reviews, and while we have a high four and a half star rating, I can't help but think about the nature of the few bad reviews we have and their origins.  To see if the grievances were of a similar nature between liquor stores, I decided to search out the standard Bay Area competition to see what the complaints were.  Sure enough, there are a handful that are similar between us.  This is what I have to say about certain negative experiences: everyone has bad days.  I have been discussing first impressions lately amongst close friends and a few of those closest to me believe that one bad encounter is all it takes to dismiss someone for the rest of eternity.  She looked at me wrong, he didn't acknowledge me - that's it!  You're written off permanently.  I, however, am a bit more forgiving and I try to be understanding.  Here's why:

I know for a fact that I am responsible for at least one previous K&L shopper deciding to never again grace us with his presence.  The reason?  I was tired, trying to get the shelves stocked, and I didn't have the patience to put on a happy face.  The customer was wondering why we didn't carry his favorite gin and I basically said that I didn't feel it was as good as some of the other gins we currently had.  It was the wrong thing to say because it made this customer feel like I was condescending to him, and wine shops are thought of as snooty enough places as is.  However, I realized my folly and tried to mitigate the situation, but the damage had been done.  The point?  I think most of you out there know that I'm not a complete prick and will try to help you as much as possible should you come to K&L.  I get a bit frustrated with this instantaneous-news-coverage age where one off day can lead to poor reviews from a major website.  I try to take these with a grain of salt, but then I start to think about all the poor restaurant servers and other hospitality jobs that get shredded by someone online who happened to catch them at a less than opportune moment in time. 

The overall statement I would like to make is that you need to base a strongly worded review over the culmination of several experiences to really make a valid judgement.  If I go to a restaurant and the hostess is rude, but the waiter and food are excellent, then I'm not going to hold one hostess against the entire place.  However, this is the nature of today's modern society - rash reviews based on rash emotional responses written meer moments after the said incident has occured thanks to our handy smart phones. 

I wish that one customer would come back into the store so that I could really give them quality service, but their mind is made up.  Sometimes one chance is all you get. 

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll