The Old-School Version of Yelp

moleskin book

I love online customer reviews. Sites like Yelp and Judy’s Book are great when you are researching a business and want to here what everyday people are saying about them. ServiceMagic also does a decent job of showing you customer reviews and rankings for their suggested home repair vendors.

Yesterday I was obtaining bids to refinish the hardwood floors at one of our listings. I met with Mike Diep from Artisan Hardwood Floors who I found through ServiceMagic. He took measurements, gave me a bid, and then asked if I had read his reviews on ServiceMagic. I said I glanced at them. What he did next surprised me.

Mike said “Let me show you some of our other reviews”. He proceeded to pull out a neat, leather-bound notebook filled with handwritten customer comments. Each review had the date of service and was handwritten by his customers. There were month’s worth of reviews in this notebook, and he had 2-3 reviews written per week, most of them great reviews.

At first, it seemed a horribly inefficient and outdated way to gather customer reviews. I mean, how does he publicize all of those? But as I walked away, I recognized the genius of his practice. I was sold. The reviews were great and clearly written by each of his customers. There was no way to doubt their authenticity. The pride in the contents of that book and his work was obvious, and of course I now want to use his services. Online sites could only hope to have this sort of visceral reaction.

I walked away from this experience hoping that we can use our own customer testimonials in a similar way. I know that our customers love our service, but how I can bring that heartfelt sentiment across to other potential customers? Mike Diep has it figured out.