NastyClient.com launches to counteract consumer reviews
As Yelp and Angie’s List have gone mainstream with the majority of consumers becoming aware that they can publicly sing a business’ praises or tear them a new one, but one professional has launched NastyClient.com, a Yelp for businesses to share insight into, you guessed it, nasty clients, turning the Yelp model on its head.
Business owners and professionals have reacted differently to consumer reviews going mainstream, some suing for false reviews damaging their business, others mock negative reviews, but as a whole, the business community is sometimes unfairly mistreated as many reviewers only take to the internet when displeased, regardless of any facts.
As more consumers join the review game, airing their opinions, startups have sprouted up to handle consumer complaints, ranging from Publik Demand which tends to consumer complaints publicly as a means to pressure large companies to get involved, while Mifft helps consumers to privately resolve issues with companies of any size.
NastyClient.com founder, Matt Stachel explains to Philly.com that membership to the site is only $15.99 per year, and he was inspired of course, by a nasty client who wanted some trees removed after he had planted them, which would void the warranty for the work. When some of the trees died, the property owner threatened to report him to RipOffReport.com and the Better Business Bureau. Stachel replaced the trees at his own cost, but responded by launching NastyClient.com so he too would have a place to air grievances, likely knowing that he wasn’t alone as a professional who has consumer review sites as a constant threat.
The founder rewrites any complaints that include opinions, sticking to the facts only and encourages contractors to share their reports with clients they review, and if disputes are settled, he’ll amend the reports and remove them from the site, but not right away. “If we took it off immediately, a client might just do the same thing to the next contractor.”
Pros and cons of NastyClient.com
Small businesses definitely need some form of empowerment that consumers do, because the one-gal caterer knows that if one person thinks her cake was not sweet enough, or she didn’t smile brightly enough during delivery, those details can be twisted into an opinion on a consumer review site that makes her sound like an evil monster who can’t cook. Where is she to go when a nightmare client is simply abusive? She can’t exactly search a person on Yelp and review them from a client perspective, it’s just not realistic. So that is the positive of the site – a form of relief, a place that could be somewhat cathartic.
The cons, unfortunately, outweigh the positives, as the business model has some major flaws that will hold it back. First, unless completely saturating the small business community (which is nearly impossible), most businesses won’t know to go search first, so it will mostly be professionals that come across it and think “oh, I have some crappy clients, let me get this off of my chest for revenge.” That’s a bad start.
But let’s say I’m wrong, and saturation is possible, and user behavior will actually be productive. Even then, when the site owner edits any comments, he takes responsibility for them, even if he is being a good guy and stripping out opinion. Just as on your blog, you cannot edit comments without becoming responsible for them (especially for potentially altering their meaning), Stachel may be stepping into something deeper than the roots of the trees he is actually an expert on.
But let’s also say that I’m wrong about that and that his lawyer’s green light keeps him safe. Stachel obviously has good intentions and is on a one-man crusade to right the world’s wrongs, and he should be commended for that, he really should. But the NastyClient.com site is bad. That’s as politely as I can phrase it. Take a look at NastyClient.com alongside Yelp.com:
Do you know what to do when you go to Yelp? Yep. Right at the top, you can search, and there are even suggested searches. What about on NastyClient.com? There’s a hard to read “Join Now” button with a 1993-era splash of paint at the top right of the page, but the rest of the page is just a lot of words in heavy font, wasting valuable real estate. At the “Join Now” page, there is no pitch, no explanation, just a “Why do I have to pay for this?” link, which right off the bat, any marketing professional will cringe at. There’s no sample review or demonstration of value, no call to action other than to just do it.
So maybe I’m wrong about that too, and web design doesn’t matter, I mean Craigslist sucks, but is still highly trafficked, and maybe I’m wrong that marketing copy matters. I will move on to my last reason that the company has problems. The tone is aggressive. It is all about revenge, being able to post anonymously, and even goes so far as to plaster the following ad on the sidebar of the site on some pages:
With some real web development behind it, a marketing expert who knows marketing as well as NastyClient.com’s founder knows landscaping, and some structural changes that make it easy to search and post could make NastyClient.com a legitimate value for businesses.
As it exists now, NastyClient.com stands in its own way of success, but we are fascinated by the idea of turning Yelp on its head and creating a community for businesses that can factually state events from their point of view, unfiltered, and not for reasons of revenge, but to give something back to the community in the form of sharing people that have ripped them off.
Unify your remote team with these important conversations
(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.
Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.
According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.
Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.
Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.
With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.
The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.
Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.
This story was first published in November 2020.
How to apply to be on a Board of Directors
(BUSINESS NEWS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.
We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.
Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:
1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.
As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.”
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).
The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.
Age discrimination lawsuits are coming due to the pandemic – don’t add to the mess
(BUSINESS NEWS) Age discrimination is spreading despite intentions to help, and employers need to know how to proceed in this unprecedented era.
A 2015 survey found that 75% of older workers found age an obstacle in job hunting. COVID-19 made the situation much worse.
Not only do older workers deal with discrimination, but they are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, older workers were hit the hardest by job loss during the pandemic, which is unusual during a recession. As offices reopen, employers need to be careful to avoid age discrimination in rehiring.
Lawyers expect age discrimination lawsuits to increase.
Last September, Harris Meyer published an article in the ABA Journal that predicted a “flood of age discrimination lawsuits” from the pandemic. Employers who have good intentions by keeping older employees out of the workplace to protect their health are still guilty of age discrimination.
What can employers do to avoid age discrimination?
It may be fine line between making sure you don’t discriminate based on age while offering ADA accommodations. The first thing employers should do is to know what laws apply based on their location. Some states exempt employees over 65 from returning to the workplace out of safety fears, meaning that those employees can still get unemployment. Other states are cutting benefits if employees don’t return to work, regardless of age.
There are some jurisdictions that have passed legislation about which workers have the right to be recalled. Next, review your own policies and agreements with laid off and terminated employees. You may want to consult legal counsel to make sure you’re covering your bases.
As you rehire, whether you’re bringing back former employees or hiring new team members, do not make hiring decisions based on age. Keep good documentation about your decisions to terminate certain employees. If you are citing poor performance, make sure to have a record of that. Don’t terminate older employees who have bigger salaries just because of lower sales. Monitor your words (and that of your hiring team) to avoid bias in hiring and firing.
Provide accommodations or not?
According to the SHRM, “Workers age 40 and older are protected from bias by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; however, that law doesn’t require employers to make accommodations for safety concerns.”
Still, employers can provide flexibility for workers, but it largely depends on the type of job. Reaching an accommodation for an office worker will be much easier than accommodating a sanitation worker.
Employers should assume that workers aged 40 and older can return to work. When the need for help is raised by the employee, enter negotiations for accommodations. Don’t initiate the conversation, and absolutely avoid any references to age.
Know that the environment may change as the pandemic continues to affect workers.
Be thoughtful about your hiring practices moving forward to avoid costly litigation from age discrimination.
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