You've dropped in. Your workout is over and you want to share your thoughts on your experience. So, what next? Most people use Google reviews to leave their feedback. And those reviews are important. It’s the means by which I research places to work out and I believe it’s important to share those experiences so others can learn from what you found. But is it always good to publish a review?
Here’s the part that you may disagree with, and please feel free to do so. It is my belief that if you don’t have something nice to say, Google is not the place to air your grievances. It’s definitely important to share your feedback, even if it’s negative. However, if it’s negative, a well-worded, detailed and constructive email to the owner with your concerns will be much more helpful for all involved.
Why do I say this? A number of reasons, really. First, I believe not all comments need to be public. A flat-out negative review may get something off your chest but may accomplish only that. Second, most CrossFit owners put their heart and soul into their business on which they support their families and are trying to do good for the community. They have a passion for helping people find a healthier path and helping us achieve our goals and that’s a pretty darn good thing. Lastly, and you’ll hear me say this many times; A drop-in is a moment in time and one experience does not necessarily represent what it’s always like at a particular place. Everyone has off days.
It could be argued that a negative review warns others to stay away. But wouldn't it be better to help an owner improve the experience for everyone? If a place is consistently poorly rated, you'll see fewer ratings or more negative ratings before you get there and that's a place you probably won't visit to begin with.
Are there places I won’t return to? Yes. Not because it’s a horrible place but it may not have been as suited to me as others and I might want to explore other options. Although I haven’t had a “bad” experience yet (doing the homework helps, including reading reviews), if I did I would either move on or write the owner with the details of my experience. I would provide the facts of the experience and leave the emotion out of it. The approach would be something along the lines of “I thought you would want be aware of my experience at your CrossFit…” Most owners look for feedback. It allows them to make adjustments and improvements because they want people to have a great experience. If I were in their shoes, I would certainly appreciate it. Constructive feedback (provided it’s constructive) is a good thing.
That said, leaving good feedback is important too. A Google review is a little different than my write-ups because they don’t go into every detail. My suggestion is to give enough details to give a sense of the place. Be sure you say that you were dropping in. How nice/helpful were the coaches? Was there anything that stands out about the facility? How friendly were the members? How did the workout challenge you? Perhaps a few sentences and a 4- or a 5-star rating. If you don’t think the experience is worth the 4- or 5-star rating, I would recommend the approach outlined above.
This is what I base my decisions on. As a result, I’ve had many great drop-in experiences. I think it’s good to share that positive experience because it not only helps a hard-working owner but people like ourselves who are looking for an excellent place to work out.
If you do write the owner, they may not respond. At that point, I personally would count it as a learning experience and move on. However, don’t be surprised if you receive a response thanking you for your feedback. Owners can’t always know everything that goes on and your feedback may be a big help in pointing out something they can address and improve. And that’s a place that just might be worth a return visit.
If you have any questions about leaving a review or any other drop-in related items, please comment below or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you safe, healthy and successful travels.