Wouldn't You Rather Someone Confront You Than Blog About You?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

ConversationLet’s say you’re at the salon and you’ve just had a haircut.  You and the stylist discussed expectations ahead of time, however, something got lost in translation and now you're unhappy with the results.  Do you speak up and assert your displeasure?  Or, do you get upset, pay for the haircut, skip the gratuity, and never return to the salon?  Conversely, if you are the stylist, wouldn’t you want a disappointed and frustrated client to feel comfortable approaching you under these circumstances?

Of course, confronting someone about a negative experience doesn't always turn out satisfactorily.  In the past, I've spoken with my share of managers and business owners who couldn’t care less about my troubles.  These instances involved the “If you don’t like it – you don’t have to come back” approach.  Then, there are the 'Deflectors' – those who won't take responsibility and instead, prefer to make their problems
my problems.  Typically, however, my concerns are well-appreciated and often times, I am commended for bringing a bad situation to someone's attention.  My absolute favorite people are those who are receptive and have a willingness to acknowledge my feelings – both good and bad.  Usually, these are the same individuals who are eager to resolve issues, achieve ‘win-win’ satisfaction, and avoid mutual heartbreak.  Consequently, I strive to emulate these people and incorporate their practices into my business and personal lives.

Feedback is everything!  If you are in a service business, as most of us are, feedback is a valuable component to building and maintaining long-term relationships.  Although it may sometimes be unpleasant, listening to a dissatisfied client affords the enviable opportunity to make things right, salvage a relationship – and discover unrecognized flaws that can cause things to slip through the cracks.  On the other hand, if a client is discouraged from speaking up:  (1) You cannot possibly know that something went wrong and therefore (2) You cannot address and fix a problem
nor take any action to prevent a recurrence.

So, what's your pleasure?  I much prefer to engage in dialogue and express what's on my mind.  In turn, you can tell me what's on your mind and then together, we can work things out.  My ultimate goal is always for all parties involved to reach an acceptable conclusion.  Communication and feedback is part of that conclusion.  Otherwise, I suppose I can just blog about the scenario and commiserate with 250,000+ of my contemporaries and close, personal friends.  That usually makes me feel a whole lot better too!

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carie shapiro

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Cheryl Thomson REALTOR Army Ret
United Real Estate (703.216.5635) cheryltee47@gmail.com - Prince William, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia

Communication is always key.  In my opinion expressing the feelings directly when you are NOT angry works best.  Sometimes you may find the person was unaware you are unhappy..like a haircut.

Jun 19, 2012 01:09 AM #35
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Margaret:  I always try to approach people in a pleasant manner and speak to them calmly and with respect.  Insulting and demeaning is not my style ... and they're not effective either!

Sharon:  I prefer to give someone another chance too.  That's why I like to talk things out ...

Tammie:  Thanks!  We do have a lot of friends here, don't we? :)

Hella:  I like your idea.  I think it's always best to try and talk things out.  Most times, this will help resolve the issues at hand and everyone has a chance to speak their mind and be heard.  'Shake hands and part' is always a possibility.

Karen:  I don't care much for being disrespected, either!  I'm sorry I missed your post about the guy at Kroger's.  Sheesh ... some people!  That's so funny because sometimes when I'm at the self-checkout, I feel like other customers are thinking exactly what he said to you.  And, I'm a pretty fast in the self-checkout line!  Oy ... everybody's in a hurry these days :)

Bob:  Small issues don't get me down so much either.  It's when the issues are more significant to me, then I feel like I need to say something.

Phil:  You're right ... I guess it does depend on your personality and personality type.  Then, I must a Communicator :)

Gita:  Talking to close friends makes me feel better too!

Eve:  That's the worst when you say something and the other person couldn't care less.  And, like you, I'll stick up for someone who is being treated poorly as well!

David:  Healthy discussions are the best!

Jun 19, 2012 01:16 AM #36
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Personally, I like the conversational feedback. There are businesses that have received bad reviews, like on Yelp, and they cannot do anything at all about them, but wish they could.

Jun 19, 2012 01:21 AM #37
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

I always fear someone might return the favor ... so to speak .... if I were to blog negatively about another business or dissatisfaction of service the!! Ugh, that would be awful. So to answer your questions, I think providing feedback directing to the person, quietly, is the way to go for me. i would appreciate my clients doing the same for me. I wouldn't want to read about their complaints about me in their blog so I won't write about them in my blog.

Jun 19, 2012 01:26 AM #38
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Judi:  I'm with you ... I'd rather not do either!  I much prefer to talk things out and like you, I would want someone to bring an issue to my attention.

Sheila:  Yes, sometimes conversation isn't possible ... or doesn't work.

Janis:  Actually, I'm not big on confrontation either!  It's just that if I'm agitated and the circumstances are important to me, then I would prefer the opportunity to express myself -- and hopefully create a win-win situation for everyone.  You're right ... every situation is different and unfortunately, talking doesn't always work.  Yet, I find that trying to stay calm and speaking to someone respectfully helps me a lot ... in most cases :)

Gary:  You're right!  Many are uncomfortable with feedback unless it's positive.  But, as you say, honest feedback can be very useful!

Frank:  Yes, it is a balancing act and you also make a great point ... how we deal with issues is often times affected by our current state of mind too!

Beth:  I agree ... constructive feedback is important to our businesses and improving performance!

Michael:  You're right ... sometimes it is better to just walk away.  Pick your battles, yes?

Richie:  To me, finding a remedy is always the best!

Gene:  Yes, we do learn more from mistakes and failures than from successes.  And, although some feedback may be hard to swallow, it is critical for growth and improvement!

Charlie:  That's exactly why I much prefer to have a conversation with someone.  More personal and less chance for misinterpretation!

Jun 19, 2012 01:46 AM #39
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Carie...One way I try to open up better communication with my clients is to ask if they have any questions and/or concerns.  I always try to include "concerns" as I mean this as an encourage to really share them with me if they have any. 


Jun 19, 2012 01:49 AM #40
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Jared & Amanda:  Great philosophy!  It's always best not to burn bridges ... it's a small world out there!

Paula:  Yes, personal communication is preferred.  And, blogging can be healing for you and helpful for others, too!

Nathan:  Thank you!  Of course, we would much prefer to receive positive feedback, right? :)  But, as you say, we're not perfect and if you tell me I messed up somewhere, I can fix it.  Then, we're both happy and I will be better equipped in the future.

Cheryl:  Exactly!  You may not even know that I'm unhappy if I don't say something -- and just never come back!  Then what?

Sandy:  I'm with you!  I like conversational feedback and I'll be the first person to stop and tell someone about a fabulous experience too!

Terrie:  Blogging can definitely be one-sided.  And, if I blog about a negative experience, I would never, never, never name names!  That being said, I much prefer face-to-face and/or personal conversations.

Kate:  That is a great method for achieving open communications!  Everybody likes to be heard, and your practice of including 'concerns' is a wonderful way to encourage your clients. 


Jun 19, 2012 02:06 AM #41
Tanja Cisliek
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL

Carie, I love giving feedback, but it is hard to find somebody who wants to really listen! I recently wrote a 2 page feedback letter to my daughter's doctor, and the lady was very nice and called me back in regards to it, but then she argued with me how they did it right and my impression was wrong!!??! It is an art to give constructive feedback, and it is an art to RECEIVE feedback, too!

Jun 19, 2012 02:47 AM #42
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

The take away lesson from this is to work to make sure that our clients feel comfortable with expressing concerns to us and feel assured that we will take what they say to heart and do something about it to make it right.

Jun 19, 2012 02:49 AM #43
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Carie,  I never used to bring up a shortcoming but I've learned that most service providers really do take constructive criticism to heart !

Jun 19, 2012 03:35 AM #44
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Carie- having managed an office in my previous life I value imput.   If no one ever says anything, how would we know?   How can we become better at what we do?  

Jun 19, 2012 05:02 AM #45
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I think it depends on the service provider and what has transpired.  If a service is so bad and I can tell there will be no benefit to addressing the situation, then I don't bother.  If it's a sole proprietor type of business trying to succeed, I'll offer suggestions.  It's always great to support small, neighboring businesses. 

Jun 19, 2012 06:04 AM #46
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Carie, as far as me and my frozen chicken and the guy in the check-out line at Krogers... the next time I came in... you wouldn't believe the response from the clerks.  They said they had been hoping that somebody would confront this guy for months.  It seems he is/was a very pushy "me first" kinda guy... and of course, they, as employees, could not say anything.

Talk about being an accidental hero... yikes !  But, after it was over... the clerks and I had a good laugh... and enjoyed re-telling what happened.

Jun 19, 2012 07:02 AM #47
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Tanja:  That is so true!  It is an art to give AND receive constructive feedback.  And unfortunately, the response you received from your daughter's doctor (taking the stance that you were wrong) is one reason why people get so frustrated!

Kathryn:  You summed it up quite nicely ... thanks :)

Bill:  Yes, I've had more positive responses than negative ones too!

Kathy:  That's precisely right and I agree with you completely.  Feedback helps us to be better at what we do!

Jan:  I know what you mean about getting a sense of whether or not there's any real benefit to saying something.  And, like you, I'm all for supporting small businesses too!

Karen Anne:  What a great story!  You, my friend, are the quintessential accidental hero for sure!  Sounds like you made everyones day, too :)

Jun 19, 2012 08:46 AM #48
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

I completely agree that I would want someone to express their displeasure. Of course, the other side of that are the people who do so unreasonably. In our 2 1/2 years of business we've never had a significant complaint about our photography and often get compliments (and a lot of business from folks seeing our photography online). But last year I had a client who was very dissatisfied and told me how very unprofessional it looked and how my photos reflected badly on his house. How do you deal with that?


Jun 19, 2012 11:06 AM #49
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning, Carie. You've certainly hit a nerve with this one :) I am currently working with an attorney on a short sale and the process is taking entirely too long, frustrating my (seller) client. Part of the problem is that the attorney's practice has gotten bigger than he can handle and he farmed this sale to an assistant. My client doesn't hear anything for weeks and then gets a nasty email requesting documents that she sent in months earlier. More than once. We confronted the attorney, with whom we'd previously had an excellent relationship, and were brushed off. More than once. So now I guess we'll have to blog about it :)

Jun 19, 2012 09:50 PM #50
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Gretchen:  I have found that there are some people who just seem to have nothing good to say about anything.  And, you can never make them happy ... never.  Fortunately, in my experience, these people are the exception.  Sounds like you have many pleased and loyal clients :)

Wayne & Jean:  How frustrating!  The old 'we didn't get it can you resend it' trick ... ugh.  Plus, haven't we all seen this time and again?  Someone gets too big and the customer service goes straight south.  Too bad the attorney isn't doing more to sustain your previously 'excellent relationship.'  I feel for you and your seller ... and I'll look forward to reading your blog about it :)

Jun 19, 2012 10:51 PM #51
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Outstanding advice for everybody in the service business.

I hope you are having an outstanding week.  Keep cool with a camera in hand.

Jun 21, 2012 01:32 AM #52
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Very good post Carie, I don't agree with people expressing their opinion on line if they have not given the folks a chance to correct it.

Jun 23, 2012 11:00 AM #53
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

I like the direct approach.  Direct but not harse is what I strive for.  Sometimes, there is just no "soft" way to say something.  This is a great post.  I certainly would not just come right out and spill the beans online and have not spoken to that person - unless I can write it such a way that it could be anyone's problem!  Never burn a bridge that you may have cross again is my motto.  Of course, I am Leo and we usually tell it like it is and to some that is being harse.

Jul 09, 2012 01:13 AM #54
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