When I was starting this blog, I looked around for virtual office companies
I thought I’d check some reviews. I did. They were all horrible.
Regus, Servcorp, DaVinci – it didn’t matter. They all had loads and loads of pissed off ex-customers.
Maybe I’ll just stick with Starbucks, I thought….
But, there’s something more interesting than just the loads of bad reviews – and those are the occasional good reviews, and the often rebuttals from the company.
Essentially all of the bad reviewers are just idiots who didn’t read the fine print in their contracts. Clearly they’re problem.
Oh, except for the fact that there’s now loads of bad reviews online about these companies, possibly steering away new clients.
What should the companies do to address such a problem?
They should first determine who their target customers are. A quick glance at all of the bad reviews – they were mostly written by cash-strapped start-ups who got very frustrated at being nickel and dimed and can’t get out of their contracts on time.
You could say, their fault – they are all idiots who didn’t read the contracts they signed. And the legal teams would all agree with with you.
But, what about the court of public opinion? These companies are receiving complaints on every fraud site. They look like corporate assholes who don’t know how to work with customers.
So – these companies should do a few things. Look at the customers you’re bringing in. Determine if you even want them as customers – do you want cash-strapped start-ups as customers who are likely going to pay you for awhile and then get sick of you and leave you a bad review online? Is this good for future business?
Why are your sales teams pushing these people into contracts? How are you incentivizing your sales teams?
Similar to the financial crisis – the GFC happened because people were pushed into houses they couldn’t afford by salesguys and loansharks, because they were incentized to do it.
You could write them off as idiots who should’ve known they couldn’t afford half-million dollar houses. But, hey, nobody told them otherwise.
Are cash-strapped start-ups your target market? (probably, you sell virtual office products – they would seem to be a market interested in such)
Then, change the way you interact with them. Tell them what all the costs are upfront (don’t hide them in small print), remind them when certain costs are set to take place, or when their contracts are set to renew (and when they need to cancel by, if they want to cancel).
You think it sounds like a bad idea – to remind your customers that they can cancel, and to not hide costs, etc:
but doing so will:
1. Improve customer loyalty
2. Bring down the bad online reviews