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8.13 Direct Response: Harbor Sail & Canvas Receives a Poor Customer Rating on Yelp

As you may know, Yelp is a social network for consumer reviews and local searches with approximately 78 million monthly unique visitors and 30 million local reviews at this time.32 Many users rely on what they hope to be “real reviews” by “real people” as the company claims. They wish to make more informed buying decisions based on Yelp reviews. Businesses would do well to monitor their status on Yelp because anything less than a four- or five-star rating might be a blemish costing them sales.

Dan Wilcox, owner of Harbor Sail & Canvas in Long Beach, California, is not yet on Facebook, but he pays attention to Yelp reviews. Currently, he has six reviews, all five stars. Imagine his surprise when he recently received a rating of one star from Jenna K.:

Harbor Custom Canvas does good work, but it seems to have become a casualty of its own success. The company is unresponsive when you call and e-mail. I will take my business elsewhere because after 3 weeks, I still haven’t heard about that estimate for my marine canvas. I had left a voice mail message and sent an e-mail. No response. I called again and was received as if my request were outlandish when I expressed the hope of getting a quote that same week. Since then, silence. Not cool. And I am a repeat customer. . . . People, fortunately there are other businesses out there!

The writer says she is a returning customer. Dan sighs because he is really shorthanded. His secretary has been sick a lot lately and inquiries have gone unanswered; communication has not been flowing well. Business is booming and he does not have enough qualified installers; as a result, weeks elapse before his small crew gets around to completing a job. Dan searches his files and finds Jenna’s job completed four years ago. Harbor had made a dodger, sail cover, and other smaller canvas items for Jenna’s 30-foot Catalina sailboat.



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