The old saying “Actions speak louder than words” is very true. However, sometimes your words can say plenty.
I’m planning my next half marathon and found a neat-looking one in Apalachicola, Florida – a small fishing town on the Gulf only 6 hours from here. As part of race prep I’ve started scouting out some local hotels and bed and breakfast’s – I figure if it’s a quaint town, why not stay in a location that fits. One of these I came across is called Apalachicola River Inn; it’s ‘Old Florida’ style, located on the water and the rates aren’t bad. In checking out Trip Advisor there were good and bad reviews, as can be expected, but upon reading the reviews I noticed many of them had replies from the owner. This is a great opportunity for the owner to respond to positive and negative reviews. Apparently the owner doesn’t know how to respond to criticism.
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The snippet of the review to the right might be slightly out of context, but from the owner’s review you can see she’s incredibly defensive rather than simply responsive. “You reviewed The Apalachicola River Inn and systematically picked it apart…I will in turn pick your review apart.” It’s the middle school “you hit me so I hit you back” mentality. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with a customer’s complaints (sometimes they really are unjustified), but you should be an adult about it.
While it was a negative review, it was a great opportunity for the owner to discuss some issues that customers have had in the past. A part of the review included, “It was raining hard and the outdoor wooden steps to the upper floor were very, very slippery even though there are non-slip strips on the edges.” Caroline could have responded, “Reviewer, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We had no idea the non-slip strips weren’t working and are very glad you didn’t take a fall. We’ll check this out immediately.”
The reviewer added, “We like old and quaint, but terrible decor that is shabby, with no tea, coffee or hairdryer and a bathroom that smelled very damp, as did the room, is not going to get us to return.” Caroline could have taken this as an opportunity to address why there aren’t coffee-makers (or any of the other amenities), “Reviewer, I agree, I love a good cup of coffee in the morning, but because we’re a small, local bed-and-breakfast, we love seeing our guests in the morning and find they love the camaraderie as well of grabbing a cup of joe on the back deck while we all watch the sun rise together.”
Needless to say, the owner’s responses made me select not to stay at this location. What if I had a problem while staying there? Would she attack me too?