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Old 09-05-2014, 08:54 AM   #21
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The Marine Max I worked for stopped servicing their own boats once the boat was 10 years old no matter how valued the customer. It pissed off quite a few but I was surprised how many sold/traded their boats and bought a new Sea Ray just to keep the service.
So let me understand this:

Joe Workingman comes into the dealership and plunks down his hard earned $250,000 for a brand new Sea Ray. Each year for the next ten years he brings it back for service and repairs, spending several more thousand dollars. After ten years, the dealership tells him "Sorry Joe, that quarter of a million dollar Sea Ray we sold you is a throw away boat, you'll have to buy a new one."

It's no wonder boat dealerships and marine businesses in general have a reputation slightly below used car dealerships.

Why would anyone turn away a loyal paying customer? Do they plan on finding a new group of suckers every ten years?

What difference does it make if they are "the best managed and run dealership in a huge conglomerate" or a mom and pop business?
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:59 AM   #22
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..........A few facts at least as far as ActiveCaptain goes:

- The number of fake positive reviews dwarfs the number of fake negative reviews or reviews meant to "get even". We've removed fake positive reviews 10:1 over negative ones...
It wasn't that long ago that you posted that you never edit or remove reviews. Did something change?
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:18 AM   #23
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Try and think real hard at why they might do that and you'll understand their success. I thought it outrageous at first but I'm a USCG helo pilot, not a businessman...in the end I saw their logic and admired their ability to read consumers.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:35 AM   #24
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...by not posting positive reviews unless the business paid for advertising.
I'd be the first in line to say that if they're doing that, it's wrong. I also don't think the federal decency in communications laws protecting reviews on the internet would protect that type of website behavior.

The issue that Yelp, etc have is that banner ads don't work. It's a proven fact shown over and over. Businesses are realizing that putting an ad surrounding content does nothing to add sales. So the Yelps are looking to find other ways of selling benefits. It's likely that they'll push the legal limits instead of realizing the benefits that could be providing by just showing the truth. It's all we do.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #25
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Small businesses have the advantage of being able to size up the customer , and simply not service the problem children.

When I formed YACHTWRIGHT , an outfitting co. in the early 70s , boats were delivered empty .

The owner selected the refrigeration . range, auto pilot,self steering gear , and many other items.

A first look, and talk to the new owner was usually enough to decide if he was worth the effort as a customer.

One out of 4 or 5 did not make the grade.Including Walter Cronkite.
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:58 AM   #26
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I once had a customer come into my shop and was beating up my partner on the cost of a repair. I said to my partner , just give her a $ 100 to leave. He looked at me and i explained. Giving her $100 to go away will save us money and frustration
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:18 AM   #27
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So let me understand this:

Joe Workingman comes into the dealership and plunks down his hard earned $250,000 for a brand new Sea Ray. Each year for the next ten years he brings it back for service and repairs, spending several more thousand dollars. After ten years, the dealership tells him "Sorry Joe, that quarter of a million dollar Sea Ray we sold you is a throw away boat, you'll have to buy a new one."
It's worse than just that. They finance these things with little down and way longer than ten years. And since they depreciate so fast, the owners are instantly and massively underwater. So the ONLY WAY out for the owner is to either plunk down cash to get rid of it, let the repo man have it, or the dealer will more than happily take it on trade for another one!!! The new one solves the 10yr service window problem. Owner then even further under water.

Nice business model.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:31 AM   #28
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Boy are these some great stories from experience. Our company is an "independent", and doesn't offer new forklifts. The major players (manufacturers) award the dealership to companies with the financial ability to put in several branches across the state and also expect a commitment to sell enough forklifts a year to keep them in business. In return for this, in almost all markets of the US, one dealer will probably handle at least a whole state with no other dealer of the same brand to compete with.
Having said all of that, our little company offers reconditioned forklifts and premium service. And we price ourselves in line with the dealerships. When I get a call from a potential customer for service work or a reconditioned forklift, and cost is one of his first questions, I have finally learned that it's usually best to move on. One of my favorite lines is, "well, we didn't go into business to be the cheapest in town. Now I can save you money on the owning and operating costs of your equipment, but it's a partnership and a commitment over time. Maybe you need to consider XXXX Forklifts. They are cheap. I have their number right here if you want it??"


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Old 09-05-2014, 11:10 AM   #29
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Several years ago, when we owned a bareboat charter company on San Juan Island, I overheard a customer getting angry with our charter manager because she (the charter manager) wanted him to take a skipper with him for the first day or two of their charter. Seems during the checkout, the customer was inept and obviously did not have the boat handling experience claimed in his "charter resume". The customer was quite indignant and refusing to pay for any training or to have a skipper along.

I went out to the desk and with a smile, told the charter manager to issue a full refund check to the charterer and turned to him and suggested that perhaps he should consider an alternative vacation.

Well...........he huffed and puffed and left the office, was gone about 10 minutes and returned, chagrined and said he would be glad to hire a skipper for a couple of days. I suspect that once he told his family that we were cancelling their vacation plans, they lowered the boom on him.

The bareboat charter business is one where you have two customers, the charterer and the charter boat owner. It is a narrow line you walk, keeping both happy. In this case I felt it far better to send the charterer on his way and keep our boat owner (and insurance company) happy.

Funny thing was that when the family returned, they came in to see me......all smiles....and told me that this had been the best vacation they ever had......and they booked again for the following year.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:21 AM   #30
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It's worse than just that. They finance these things with little down and way longer than ten years. And since they depreciate so fast, the owners are instantly and massively underwater. So the ONLY WAY out for the owner is to either plunk down cash to get rid of it, let the repo man have it, or the dealer will more than happily take it on trade for another one!!! The new one solves the 10yr service window problem. Owner then even further under water.

Nice business model.
There were other things they considered that actually made the customers happy...one was just response time...they had enough service and warranty work to keep the staff "overtasked" as it was. So the customers that wanted good service..said maybe it's time to upgrade or buy out of older issues....

The other issue was repairs on boats "in their service history" showed significantly more hrs per item (rust, corrosion, etc) and the customers figured in the long run...the costs start to collide.

Many customers were looking for a reason to upgrade...transition...and got a better deal with a trade-in than outright so most were happy anyway.

The people who didn't get service there anymore really didn't complain as they found more inexpensive service elsewhere....yet still came back when it was time to buy again because of the reputation and now they were back in.

People think it may be crazy to treat customers that way...but take a good look at how the auto business sales/service combo has evolved over the last couple of decades.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:28 PM   #31
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A short story on "firing a customer"-Years ago I was CFO at a very large Nashville Hotel well known for the quality of its service and its staff. Our GM insisted on it. One weekend, a quite famous singer demanded a breakfast that was not on the room service menu, one that was normally prepared tableside. When advised that was not available by my room service cashier, he was rude and verbally abusive. He was the same to me and threatened the sous chef of not being able to fix a McMuffin. it got to the point where I called the GM at home. He asked that the customer be taken to his office and we would meet. When he arrived, he asked the guest if it was explained to him that what he wanted was not available, when told yes, but the guest wanted it anyway, our GM told him-"I will have our Guest Service staff pack your bags, our limo will take you to any other hotel you wish, but you will not treat my staff that way, You are no longer welcome in our hotel." Well, it took about 60 seconds for that to get around to all 700 employees. From that point on, every employee would have jumped off the roof for that GM. He had just guaranteed that every other guest would receive great service from every employee. For me, a valuable lesson learned early in my business career.
Great story! Thanks for sharing...
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:35 PM   #32
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:48 PM   #33
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When we go places for work, be it White Plains, New York, or Warsaw, Poland to name two of our latest location shoots, we use web reviews when selecting restaurants because we have zero local knowledge. If we see more than one or two negative reviews, we cross the place off our list.

When we buy a big ticket item like our new refrigerator and dual-fuel range, for example, we read the Consumer Report reviews (and others) but we also read the reviews. If there are more than just a very few negative reviews, we cross the item off our list.

Everybody I know does the same thing. To think that consumers don't give much weight to negative reviews, even the simple "Food and service suck" reviews, is truly naive as to how people select and buy stuff now.

With so many choices, especially among services-- restaurants, hotels, yard services, plumbers, car dealers, you name it-- very few people are going to bother researching if XYZ Roofing is really any good or not. They read the reviews and if there are too many negative ones for whatever their threshold is, they simply move on to the next provider on the list.

I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions, but I don't know anybody who doesn't shop this way.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:56 PM   #34
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Yelp... Last I checked my company had 16 glowing reviews. Every single one is buried under the words "16 reviews that are currently not recommended". The link is un-highlighted and is nearly invisible....[/URL]
I find that "recommended review" thing that Yelp does so annoying I never use them. I'll decide which reviews I want to consider, not them. I hate that feature so much I'll never go there as long as they do that.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:03 PM   #35
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Not too many restaurants DON'T have a couple negative reviews unless you only go to the best place in town (just the same as getting it straight from your closest friends) and I have yet to see anything online that had 25 or more reviews that didn't have at least a couple 1 star and ""would not recommend from a friend" ratings.

Between the two of us on my boat, we do about 90+ percent of our shopping/dining online because where we live, my job and our 4 month winter cruise.

I would say most younger people I know are even more aggressive in sifting through the trash "reviews" online.

NaÔve can go both ways depending on your success in getting what you expect.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:15 PM   #36
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When we go places for work, be it White Plains, New York, or Warsaw, Poland to name two of our latest location shoots, we use web reviews when selecting restaurants because we have zero local knowledge. If we see more than one or two negative reviews, we cross the place off our list.

When we buy a big ticket item like our new refrigerator and dual-fuel range, for example, we read the Consumer Report reviews (and others) but we also read the reviews. If there are more than just a very few negative reviews, we cross the item off our list.

Everybody I know does the same thing. To think that consumers don't give much weight to negative reviews, even the simple "Food and service suck" reviews, is truly naive as to how people select and buy stuff now.

With so many choices, especially among services-- restaurants, hotels, yard services, plumbers, car dealers, you name it-- very few people are going to bother researching if XYZ Roofing is really any good or not. They read the reviews and if there are too many negative ones for whatever their threshold is, they simply move on to the next provider on the list.

I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions, but I don't know anybody who doesn't shop this way.
We use reviews all the time on our travels and purchases. Right beside our charts and Active Captain and other resources, we have Trip Advisor and Google and sometimes others. Most of the time the restaurant and attraction reviews are very consistent across sources. We also read the reviews for specifics. Price too high we dismiss as the price is what it is and that's a separate issue. But service slow, rude, steak tough as rawhide, seafood not fresh, those things we read. 20 glowing reviews, one bad, we ignore. 10 glowing, 5 bad, we think there's a problem.

Thanks to Circuit City, passed away long ago, but they were the first appliance and electronics store to put reviews on their web site. Was a scary proposition to find yourself selling something and it's gotten a lot of one star reviews. But quickly others followed and they found out it's to their benefit assisting customers in good choices. Even when we're out shopping and see some cute gadget we think we might like we pull it up on Amazon. I recall one day a woman was looking at the same item we were. We pulled it up and the reviews said it was junk and everyone was returning theirs to Amazon. So did it cost the store a sale? Or save the store from having an upset customer?

We honestly find Consumers Report to be the least use. We are not product testers so what they think may not mean as much to us. We're consumers and value what consumers say. That's except safety issues which we do take seriously. Sometimes Consumers Report's method of grouping and comparing just is difficult. For instance, they take 50-60 hp outboards. Two brands have a 50, one a 55, and one a 60. Guess which performs the best?
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:53 PM   #37
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Pretty sure this is thread drift. But a colleage sent me this letter from an angies list (another review site) customer of his. Talk about extortion;

"As you know, I found your company through Angie's List and plan on writing a review at the end of this process. I think there are two ways I could write my review and how I end up writing it will depend on how resolution of this goes. If we are treated fairly, I will stress the excellent work done and wonderful people in your operation in my review. I will also provide you an introduction to the friend I spoke of who is in need of some work to his home (one of his systems needs to be replaced, I believe). I would also consider hiring you guys again when we need our other bathrooms done. If we donít believe we are treated fairly, those feelings would be reflected in my review as well."

The letter goes on about details of the job. Short story is it all came down to price with this customer, not quality of work, service , etc.

Customers do know how to rattle business owners and they really are getting away with it to some extent. As a business owner, you just have to decide which battles are worth fighting, and when to give up a customer.

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Old 09-05-2014, 02:20 PM   #38
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Those are more common than many will admit Bligh. That's about the 5th one I've personally read in the last 2 years and have been told of many others. Price diggers primarily.

I've been a firm believer in firing customers since my first experience doing it about 20 years ago. Taught my wife the value of doing it 3 years ago and her business thrived too as a result.

I also offered a no bs 100% money back satisfaction guarantee, parts and labor. Offered it twice and both customers blushed and refused, I gave it to them anyway. I probably made at least 20 times that amount back from both of those customers between repeat business and referrals.
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:37 PM   #39
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A famous incident at Southwest Airlines back when Herb Kelleher was running it involved a demanding woman who was making life miserable for one of the airline's counter agents. The passenger was demanding things that the agent simply couldn't do, but the passenger refused to accept this.
...
Interesting you mention South West. A few months ago I was waiting for a delayed plane to arrive at the airport. The flight was delayed about 45 minutes and I got to the airport early. I had a book about boats to read so all was good.

I sat down at the gate to wait and a guy sat down near me shortly there after. What a POS he was. He was some frequent fliyer and he called some special SW phone number for customer support to complain about the airline. This guy was on the phone to one poor, undeserving employee for over an hour complaining. He would ask her impossible to answer questions like, "Can you guarantee me that the next flight will not be delayed?" or "Will the next flight flight have another mechanical problem?" He went on and on about how bad SW's service was and how it had gone down hill, was worst in the business, ya da ya da ya da. I was thinking if SW was so bad, and you fly so much, use another company.

Now, he never raised his voice at that saintly employee, he only cussed once or twice but he was annoying to everyone who could hear him. I was watching the crowd watch him and if looks could kill he would have been toast. One lady did go and fuss at him for bad language. Like I said, he only used a few bad word in over an hour of talking so he was not rude in that way, but I think the lady was tired if hearing his sh...t and used the cuss word as an excuse to tell the guy off.

I was trying to figure out how I could help the employee on the phone but I never could find a solution, though NOW that I think about it a bit more, I do have an idea. A bit late though.

The employee should have gotten an award for how she handled that miserable piece of humanity.

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Old 09-05-2014, 03:54 PM   #40
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A famous incident at Southwest Airlines

BUT..... that was then and this is now. Ron brings up an excellent albeit unfortunate point. And that is that anyone today has the power to severely damage if not destroy a business simply by sitting at his or her keyboard. I have heard a few local news stories recently about the devastating effect bad reviews on internet services like Yelp have had on busiensses, particulary smaller businesses.

I have read recently of the increasing number of busiensses--- restaurants I think--- which refuse to partcipate in star ratings because of the potential for attracting bogus bad reviews.

The internet can be a great source of information. But with that comes the very real potential for destructive information because there is no way to know what's true and what's not.

Repeat customers may recognize bad reviews of the business they are patronizing as bogus. But most people won't, and there is still this inherent belief on the part of most people that "if I read it in print it must be true."

And with no penalties for posting untrue information that has devastating effects on people or organizations, any idiot with a keyboard and a connection can achieve results far, far out of proportion to his or her own signficance.
Wifey B: As to Southwest I've never flown them but they do some freaky crap sometimes when one person just gets carried away. See the girls they've booted off because they felt their clothes were too revealing? Darn. Those outfits would be way overdressed in South Florida. That's my Alaskan outfit. And others for weird things. Oh well...

To the bad reviews. I think most people can figure out the flamers and trolls nowadays. Ever read apartment ratings and you see..."I had to move and couldn't give them but a week's notice and had six months left on my lease and didn't have time to clean and those %!$$%^ didn't return my deposit." Can you say deadbeat? Or like, "That ugly b.... in the office with the fake lips and too much make up and IQ under 50 and talks like the hood and must be from some backwoods country and is always so full of sh.... I want to kick her a.... back to china or africa or mexico is so rude."

I know there have been some unfairly damaged but most of the time you can respond plus report when you feel it's a vicious attack. Sometimes a competitor does it. Still on the whole not too much. Things with like three reviews may get messed up but then those with 80 and only 5 negative you can figure out if the negative are legit.
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