Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bad Review - What To Do? Learn From It!

When you interact with the public, everyone has the same goal - to be loved (or at least, liked a while lot).  In my “real job” our ice cream store is reviewed constantly on TripAdvisor, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, etc., and we have the good fortune to usually garner 4 or 5 stars almost all of the time (partly because the spousal unit makes absolutely incredible ice cream).  As a writer, I look forward to reviews and always hope that they are favorable.  Until recently, that’s been the case, but I just received my first 1-star review.

I have to be careful here.  With the ice cream store, we do get the occasional lousy review, but because there are so many others that are 5-stars, I figure that one of two things happened:
  1. They got the wrong store (happened twice).
  2. Their expectations were out of whack with what we’re all about.
Now, let me explain #2 - we’re a small, simple ice cream shop, mostly cones and dishes.  Sometimes folks want something different, say, a banana split, or they want two half-scoops because they can’t decide on a flavor, or they want a flavor we don’t make (like Cookie Dough or Gramma’s Cake batter).  So when a potential customer comes in and asks for something we don’t have, they can either (a) go to one of the other shops in town, or (b) get pissed at us because they expect us to have it and dammit, that’s just not right and every other store in the world has it and why can’t you do this, and so on.  I am amazed just how upset people can get over ice cream, and I’ve learned that in the 21st Century, some people decide to get upset and “get even” by writing bad reviews.  The ultimate, online, “That’ll teach the son-of-a-bitch.”

Now, again, I have to be careful, because I really believe that the individual who purchased by book of gambling short stories is sincere in his opinions, and opinions are never wrong.  The fact behind them might be, but the opinion stands on its own.  However, I believe that like my ice cream 1-star reviewers, this individual’s expectations were out of whack.  Thing is, I don’t know how he got ‘em.

In his short review, he says, I expected detailed stories from the tables and got nothing. I have no idea how he got that expectation.  The write up for the book states, “This is a collection of short stories and articles that I have written over the years about poker, gambling, and the like.”  The book is actually… a collection of short stories and articles about poker, gambling, and the like.  The book has a “Look Inside” feature which displays the first 10% of the book, including the table of contents.  Only ONE of the stories is about poker, though, ironically, it’s the one in the sample.  The others cover slot machines, craps, horse racing, risk, and gambling in general.  The table Of Contents isn’t perfectly clear about this, but it also doesn’t say that all the stories are about the tables.  And since one can read SOME of the first story, one might get an indication as to how interesting (or not) the writing is.

One thought - perhaps he saw that I wrote other books on poker and blackjack, and just assumed…and you know what happened when you assume…

I don’t know if he’s purchased any of my other books - the other reviewer (who gave it 5-stars) did, and he loved the other two books, too.  Chances are the 1-star reviewer won’t buy any others.  No surprise.  Hopefully, the next eBook he buys he’ll use the “Look Inside” feature and get a better idea what he’s purchasing.

So what the “Learn From It” part of this post?  Well, obviously, I learned that I’m not headed for any book awards in the near future (but I knew that).  The real “learning” is another way to apply the “missed expectations = dissatisfaction” equation - to poker!

I’m still coming up with a bunch of examples as to how a player can make costly mistakes because of poor expectations at the table, but for now, here’s one:  When you play online, what’s the first thing you learn about your opponents? 

Let me re-phrase that - what’s the first bit of information you learn about your opponents?

Answer: Their screen name and (if they have one), their avatar.

Can you really “learn” something from this information?  Sometimes, but you usually ALWAYS develop an expectation from the info. What is your assumption about an opponent with these screen names and avatars?

Miss Kitty
Card Shark

Let’s just take the first one…chances are, you’re thinking this opponent is male, young, and aggressive, perhaps foolishly so (big bets, all-in, reckless).  You’d be surprised (and perhaps, a bit poorer) when you learn that he plays conservatively, smart, and the only time he goes all-in is when he has the nuts.  You get the idea.

BTW, I always assume that the second player shown above is also male and young, trying to pass himself off as a woman.  As for the third one…what do you think?  Drop me a comment. 

Or a bad review.

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