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Ep. 108 Business on the Edge: Ignoring the Feedback Loop

by | Smart AF Show

feedback loop

Business on the Edge: Ignoring the Feedback Loop

Do you know how your customers feel about your business? Are you aware of how customers experience your services? Your products? A negative customer experience is more than just a bummer; it can be detrimental to your business…if it’s not corrected.

In this episode, Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean talk about how to open your eyes to the feedback loop built into today’s business environment. The information is there, you just have to take action.

Listen or watch the full episode below:


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(transcription is auto-generated)

SAF 108

[00:00:00] Sean: When you ruin somebody’s experience to make them not want to come back, like that’s going to have detrimental effects to your business. But you can fix it easily.

[00:00:19] Torie: Hey, what’s up? It’s Torie Mathis, your host, and I am here with the one and only Sean Mathis, Founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

[00:00:26] Sean: What’s going on. 

[00:00:27] Torie: What’s up. 

[00:00:29] Sean: Last night I was in bed, had the TV on Netflix getting ready to watch our show. You’re not in there yet. And Netflix starts going through its own commercials, right?

Start showing you previous on stuff. And one of these new ones that’s coming out is called restaurants on the edge. 

[00:00:46] Torie: Are they wearing very outfits? 

[00:00:47] Sean: They’re not wearing for reality outfits, but like it it’s pretty much restaurant impossible, which we’ve watched the past. Right. I was letting it play. I didn’t pay too much attention about it. So it’s not like I’m giving reviews or I don’t even know if it’s out or anything like that. But what caught my eye was that these people that were the experts in the restaurant industry were interviewing the restaurants that were struggling and needed the help. 

[00:01:13] Torie: Okay. 

[00:01:13] Sean: And they, they pull out their, their tablets and start reading off the reviews. Of these people’s restaurants. 

[00:01:19] Torie: Okay. 

[00:01:20] Sean: Talking about you know, one star is too much for you overpriced food and all these negative things. And it shows these restaurant owners completely oblivious to these reviews. It blew my mind that they had no idea, no idea that this is the kind of stuff that was being said about.

[00:01:38] Torie: And these were just, these were like reviews on like Google. 

[00:01:42] Sean: Like they’re not like something normal reviews that I think if they would have at least known about it, They may not be on this show, you know, because they would have been able to something like that. You know, that’s the thing, you know, we talk about Google business all the time.

And if you don’t take control of your own Google business, Google create set shit on its own. People are able to, to leave reviews, whether you set it up or not. If it’s, if it’s an established business and it’s been there long enough. So if they’re not utilizing it and these reviews start going crazy on it. There’s, I mean, th they don’t know. 

[00:02:17] Torie: I have heard that a lot of business owners don’t like Yelp. Like they resist it and don’t want to use it. And then, so I’m sure the same thing happens with Google or Facebook that they’re like, I don’t want to deal with it. I don’t like Facebook. But you got to understand that, like you have to play the game, right?

Like, so if they’re just completely ignoring it because they don’t want to use it, like that’s not very smart. Like those reviews are out there for the public. So you definitely have to. 

[00:02:43] Sean: And it made me think I’m like, even if you don’t listen to anything we say, and don’t, don’t utilize any of these tools to their full capacity of what you’re able to do. At least make it so that you get the email notification that you’ve got to review and look at it because especially if you’re not in your business on a daily basis. 

[00:03:04] Torie: Okay. Was that the case though, for these people? Do you think that they were the actual ones that were, because you’ll some owners are very hands-on and you see them a lot, some owners, like you never see, so who were the actual people, do you think that they were interested?

[00:03:15] Sean: I don’t know. I mean, it does, they were interviewing was the actual business owners. I don’t know if they were hands-on restaurant. People, I don’t know if they were the cooks and the servers, you know, the front desk person or whatever. 

[00:03:27] Torie: I don’t really watch it. But do you think then, like the managers knew it or.

[00:03:30] Sean: Well that’s my, my thing is. It’s kind of a customer audit type thing that naturally occurs that, you know, say you’re not there on a daily basis and you’ve hired all these people, you know, to represent your business. And you think things are good. Because every time you walk in everybody, everything is great right.

But the minute the boss leaves, you know, it goes to shit. You have no idea, but if you were able to see these customers, because. Disgruntled customers are gonna be the first ones to go bitch about it, for sure. Absolutely. The majority of the reviews are probably going to be bad if you’ve never asked for good ones, because if you have a good experience, you know, that people don’t leave.

No, not unless you ask me because if it’s great and you’re like, Hey, I, you know, if it was great, you do us a great favor of leaving us review. It’s not top of mind for somebody to go out and do that. Hey, this was awesome. Let’s let’s leave a fantastic review. It’s always going to be, that was the worst experience ever.

[00:04:27] Torie: So in my mind, what’d you say one star isn’t enough for you, right? 

[00:04:31] Sean: You know, if these owners would at least have had access to look at these reviews and been like, holy cow, what is going on in my business? You know, if they’re not there, they’d be able to then go and question, Hey, tell me about this. And at least have a little bit of a dialogue with their employees going explain this to me.

Because maybe it’s, it was nothing, but maybe it’s something and they need to. 

[00:04:54] Torie: If there’s that many and they’re restaurants on the edge, it probably is something.

[00:04:59] Sean: And then how many places have we been to where the server’s like, it looks . Inconveniencing the hell out of them coming in there and sitting down to eat. And he watch him over there in the corner, on their phones. And you’re like, I’m out of water. I mean, It happens. It’s super common. Cause they’re just employees. They don’t care. 

[00:05:19] Torie: I think you brought up a good point that that’s a good like checks and balances since like you have no control over what reviews people leave. Your manager could always be like, oh yeah, everything’s great. You know, when you have that meeting with them, but by getting like actual feedback from customers and you’re not seeing that, that is. 

[00:05:38] Sean: Which is another reason why you should be asking for those reviews as well, because. Like, I, I typically, I don’t like leaving negative reviews. 

I mean, unless it’s like, Like somebody needs to know type thing. If it’s a negative, I just leave it. And I try to focus on leaving positive reviews if something was awesome. I want to mentally focus on that good thing and leave a positive review and that, but that’s just me. 

[00:06:06] Torie: Well, I always try to think, well, maybe somebody is just having a really bad day and I don’t really want to screw everything up at the same time though. If a business owner isn’t told. They have no idea. I bring up the dojo a lot. So I actually spoke with the owner of it and I mentioned something about one of the teachers, Bella didn’t really like, because she’s a newer teacher and she’s really young and I get it, like, it takes a while to like grow into a position.

And, you know, Sean and I have talked about this quite a bit. And so we get that, but like her enthusiasm level and her confidence level is just nowhere near. Where some of the other teachers are the coaches and it really shows with the kids. And he’s like, thanks for letting me know if parents don’t tell me.

I have no idea because again, when there he’s in there, I’m sure everybody’s acting a little bit different than when he’s not well.

[00:06:57] Sean: And when he’s in there, he’s probably occupied in some capacity and, and isn’t going to see any of that kind of stuff either though. 

[00:07:07] Torie: Agree. I don’t want to leave a bad review either. That is a really good way for somebody to like, really get the point, like your servers suck. Like you need to do something about them. Cause otherwise they don’t know. And I don’t think you can really like call up the place and be like, just so you know, Joe’s a shitty waiter. 

[00:07:25] Sean: Right? Well, and every once in a while, I like I’ve seen it. Like, it’s definitely the owner of that establishment and they’re straight up asshole and it’s terrible, you know, whatever, and yeah, I’ll be the first one to go and jump on and let people know that you shouldn’t go there. 

[00:07:41] Torie: Yeah. We go to this Mexican restaurant down the street, it’s pretty close to us and there’s always, actually the last time we went in there, this waiter was not there, but there’s always the same waiter in there.

And he no personality at all. He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t like not, Hey, how, how are you? How’s it going? And we’ve been in there fricking 

[00:08:04] Sean: almost weekly.

[00:08:06] Torie: 

20 times. He knows. He’s got to know who we are, like, because we’re in there so often we don’t live in like the biggest city that there’s millions of people going in there.

Right. He’s gotta know, like still nothing like good to see you again. Nothing, unless I’m we were in there, it wasn’t there, but it’s a little bit, like, I almost find it a little bit of humor from it now because like every single time. 

[00:08:26] Sean: Because it’s so ridiculous. Like, it’s one of those things where I don’t, I have been in that industry and I’ve been a waiter server.

I’ve done all that kind of stuff myself. You don’t have to like kiss anyone’s ass. You just have to make them feel welcome. And this guy literally. Does nothing other like looks up, grabs the menus, throws on the table evil walks off. What the hell, man, like tell us what to expect next. Hey, are you you’re, you know, someone else is going to take our drink order.

And they’re going to bring us chips. Like if we had never been there before, which happened the first time we were there, we were like, what the hell is this guy? 

[00:09:03] Torie: The little guy saves the whole thing. There is this little guy that comes out and. He’s gotta be, she’s gotta be shorter than, yeah. He’s, he’s a teeny tiny guy.

Tons of personnel, so much personality and . Comes out and he gives us chips and salsa is very friendly and he’s like, , it’s like, he saves the whole thanks so much. He should, because right. It makes you feel good when somebody does just those little bit, little teeny things, but you know what? We’ve never said.

The one waiter has no personality. So. Maybe they don’t know, maybe they think he’s the greatest guy up or. 

[00:09:41] Sean: Yeah. I mean, and every once in a while you’re like, well, maybe he’s having a bad day and I don’t want to be responsible for the guy losing his job or you never know. And, but it, it is it’s, he’s he’s 100%. Every single time, the exact same. 

[00:09:58] Torie: Hard that you don’t want to take down an entire business. Right. Well, and that’s why I don’t want to do the negative reviews unless it like really has to happen. How many people that are like this too. So if a business is getting bad reviews, you know, one star, you know, it’s gotta be pretty bad that, you know, especially if there’s a lot of them, I think you’re going to have those people that are always going to be unhappy. They’ll leave a one star review for every single place they go. Just because, but I think most people are probably like us that they don’t really want to do it. So I think if, if a business is getting that many, like. 

[00:10:29] Sean: But then you hope to see that that business is then responding to those reviews and not arguing with whoever it is. Cause I’ve seen, I’ve seen the business owner argue with the review and Like it never ends well, because there’s always two sides to the story. Right. So you’re out, I’m like, okay, the guy that left her, the review possibly could be any idiot, you know? But how the business owner has handled it, isn’t great either where if all they did was say, you know, shoot me an email, give me a phone call.

Let’s, let’s figure this out. We’ll make things right. 99% of the time that person leaving the review will never get ahold of that business owner. They just wanted to vent. But me for the first time looking at those reviews, if I see the business owner going, you know, sorry, let me make it right. And pulling it off of the back and forth banter of reviews.

I’m like, all right, you know, Who I chalk it up to, you know, rare circumstances. I’m not going to hold this business accountable for that particular review. And I’m going to give it a go. But if there’s no response to it, and you’ve got a bunch of negative reviews, I’m like, well, this is probably something bad. Or you get this business owner that just wants to argue with everybody. To me, that’s like these reviews are probably accurate and this business owner is in denial. 

[00:11:51] Torie: So we worked with this client for a really long time that every once in a while would fire a client, they went through quite a bit of turnover for their employees and the employee would go nuts and leave bad reviews and it would make him so angry. And so we would a lot of times, and like we said, it’s really good to have multiple people on your accounts so that somebody catches the review. Because for example, Google, I sometimes get the emails for the reviews. You don’t get every single email with the reviews for Miles Through Time, but we’re both on the Google account. .So it’s nice to have multiple people. So sometimes we would catch the review before this business owner would. And so we would always forward it to them, just like, Hey, just want to let you know, you got this review or this review. Taken care of quickly. And he came back and he was like, that’s an employee.

And we’re like, you know, we know you’re upset, but don’t react to it. And we gave him like a little script kind of thing to like, cause we could tell how mad he was like, why don’t you do something like this so that, you know, anybody else that’s reading the review, doesn’t go and read that because. Okay. It was a place that you would take your elderly parents.

And so if you are looking for a place to take your elderly parents and the owner rip somebody up inside of a review, what does that really saying about like his ability to deal with difficult situations? It’s kind of a red flag. 

[00:13:18] Sean: Makes you wonder if he was doing it in person in the inside the facility.

[00:13:23] Torie: Maybe he’s a bad owner. Like, and I don’t think that of him, but looking at it in that kind of way, like you got to see where those like little cues are coming, that it’s kind of a little bit of a red flag and he did not take us our advice at all. And he just went crazy in this review, back and forth here.

He wrote a book which is ridiculous. And just like dirty laundry, dirty laundry, dirty laundry, and just went off and said all these details about like, you do not need to, or should ever do anything like that in responding to reviews. And I understand like that it hurts. Sean does a really great job on the Miles Through Time reviews every once in a while you get ones that aren’t the greatest reviews.

Every once in a while, it’s somebody didn’t even go in there. They’re like two stars look like it might’ve been cool. And then they don’t. They even said that they never walked in the place. 

[00:14:15] Sean: No, I got one for the bowling alley. I’ve gotten them for the antique mall. 

[00:14:18] Torie: Not the museum when somebody does that, the response that you’re making, like really makes a difference when somebody goes and reads it and it’s like, oh, this guy Shawn’s really nice. You know? And he, he mentioned that, you know, that’s not even, even the establishment, you know, we’re sorry that happened. Right. People want to be heard. They want, they want to be heard that something did happen. So even though they’re reviewing the wrong place, you still allow them that, that place to be heard and, and say, sorry for that.

And, and when somebody doesn’t, and I think with the Miles Through time, I think bad reviews and I don’t know two-star or whatever. I think the thing that they may have is expectations. Because they maybe expect something very big and Miles Through Time at the moment is a small museum. So if they’re going in there expecting something big and then they see that it’s small every once in a while they leave a review and they’re like way smaller than I thought.

But that’s not saying that the time was bad. It’s just saying that their expectations weren’t met. And so I think that kind of review almost needs something different than this sucks. Yeah. The only, never gotten anything like that. 

[00:15:21] Sean: They only negative reviews were kind of like the one that you just said, and there was no context behind it. It was down nothing we’re seeing. I was in and out wasted my time. That doesn’t, that doesn’t explain anything about what you’re reviewing. And so I, I responded specifically to that one going, Hey, you know museums about 10,000 square feet, we’ve got about 40 cars. We’ve got 2,500 model cars on display.

There’s vintage bicycles, pedal cars, a lot of things to read a whole town built in there. It says that everywhere you look online, what the museum is all about. If you went in there with any other kind of expectation. 

[00:16:03] Torie: Don’t you always almost offer them a free, not a free, but a tour. Like Sean’s like, if you want to come back in and I can give you a tour.

[00:16:11] Sean: The last one specifically. Yeah, I did. I was like, some guy gave one star. Didn’t say anything about it. I’m like, I don’t know why he did this, but why don’t you come back? I’ll give you a personal tour of the museum and you know, hopefully change your mind about it, whatever the circumstances were, that person never responded.

[00:16:30] Torie: Well, not personal, probably never would, but if I went on there, all those things that you said aren’t for that guy necessarily it’s for everybody else reading the review. 

[00:16:38] Sean: And that’s what people don’t realize. It’s not, it’s not for you. It’s for everyone that doesn’t know any better. Cause that it’s, it is an online first impact.

[00:16:48] Torie: So when you saw the, the clip from that TV show, what did the, did it show anything of what the experts said on the responses for the reviews? Or did they say anything about that? 

[00:16:58] Sean: No, it was, it was just kind of like like these are these terrible reviews and and then it showed the owners of these restaurants, like being there, having their minds blown, what, you know, like that they had no idea.

So I would actually be probably curious to at least watch a couple of them and see if it really does come down. Cause restaurant impossible is, you know, it’s old at this point. And maybe the online presence of these restaurants weren’t as prevalent. And so he was able to focus on the infrastructure of the brick and mortar building and the food itself we’re in today.

[00:17:34] Torie: Did they do the, did they do a little bit of a remodel in that? Then they have a small budget to change things, to make it better than what restaurant possible. You don’t watch it in a long time. Yeah. When the guy went in there, they did do stuff with the food, but didn’t, they have a small budget to just kind of fix the, yeah.

[00:17:52] Sean: They made it all. Look, they did look better as well, but this, this new show seems like it starts online before it even gets to anything else. And again, I haven’t seen the show yet, so I’ll have to watch it and. I think it comes out soon. 

[00:18:07] Torie: I like those shows that, and I don’t know how much of it is fake, which is kind of unfortunate. I know they got to pump up the drama a little bit, but it still is interesting to get that glimpse inside of businesses and kind of see what the, what problems they have. Cause I think a lot of them are very similar. You know, we talk about, we’re talking about reviews for restaurants, but if it could be reviews for museums or reviews for the grocery store, like it could be anything.

[00:18:30] Sean: I think ultimately if you have a business. You need to be aware of what your customers think of your business, your product, whatever it is you’re selling, because if you’re not. It’s just a matter of time before you, you fail because chances are, they’re not going to be happy with you. I did. 

[00:18:49] Torie: I had a client a long time ago that was having a problem with booking students and we actually. Did a secret shopper type thing with them. And we’ve got somebody that worked with Sean to come in and go through the entire application process and found that they had one like super stellar, you know, star of an employee. And a lot of the other ones were a little bit rude and weren’t very helpful. And and then they just got some like overall feedback that the place didn’t come across this organized, it seemed a little dirty, a little disheveled, and these are things. Day after day. Like the owner may not really see your notice because busy doing other things that it’s kind of nice to get another set of eyes before you get bad reviews or before your sales drop, like. 

[00:19:37] Sean: Right. And I mean, we always say it is easier to get recurring customers, right? Like you get them one. To get them to come back again, as much easier than trying to get somebody completely new so that, you know, when you ruin somebody’s experience to make them not want to come back, like that’s going to have detrimental effects to your business. But you can fix it so easily. You just have to be aware of it and then take the actions to fix it.

If it’s a, if it’s an employee, you know, address it, if it’s, you know, a constant bathroom issue. Fix that, you know, if it’s your hours, you know, for all, you know, it’s, it’s the amount of hours that your establishment is open. Doesn’t reflect what your customers want, but you have to figure that kind of stuff out.

And if you don’t need just blindly, like, oh, my product is awesome. Everybody should be worshiping me. But you don’t actually know what they’re thinking. There’s a disconnect there. 

[00:20:35] Torie: Yeah, getting that, that feedback is definitely important. Then you have to allow that feedback loop to open. You have to be able to get that feedback from customers, not be oblivious to it.

[00:20:48] Sean: Yeah. Yeah. Made me think like if, if they can create a whole show and it seemed, you know, in that industry, how many other businesses are out there that they’re just not paying attention to that kind of a thing. And they should. 

[00:21:01] Torie: Yeah, I just did a, you know, it’s crazy. You came up, you were telling me about this show and I actually just did a post on Instagram that goes over all of the steps for how to respond to a negative review. It’s very timely. So you can definitely go to the, get smart AF Instagram page and check that out. It’s got kind of a step-by-step template that you can use on how to respond to negative reviews. And as a bonus on the end, I actually say a way that you should respond to positive reviews and give you a full like template that you can use.

And I think that that’s a really good first step to get that built into your process. Definitely find, figure out who is getting the emails for your reviews, because Facebook will notify you. When you get a review, Yelp will notify you, TripAdvisor, Google, all of these are going to send you notifications.

So make sure that you have more than just you on there. And if you do not want to deal with it, You have to get somebody else to you. Can’t just not deal with it. 

[00:22:00] Sean: Because it’s gotta be addressed. 

They can send you a restaurant over the edge. You know, your business is going to go over the edge. And you won’t even know it.

[00:22:07] Torie: Be blinded by the fact, how did that even happen? So I hope you enjoy this episode. And in case you didn’t know, we have new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday, and we would love it. If you came and joined us, you can find our show on all of the different podcast channels and on YouTube. 

[00:22:22] Sean: Leave us a review.

[00:22:24] Torie: That would be fantastic. And we’ll see you on the next one.

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Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


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