Asking vendors to participate

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BjornBee, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Seems every time someone asks about a product, a company, or experiences on service, someone in the crowd runs out and invites the owner/manufacturer/supplier to add their opinion and comments.

    Yes, I can see the benefit when a "new" product enters the arena. But beyond "marketing" and biased comments, and probably what the website of the product already mentions, do you really learn anything new?

    I can't help but feel the stifling of some opinions based on the old "If you got nothing good to say, just say nothing" or just the whole idea of some holding back from openly commenting knowing the very company they do business with, is watching.

    There are many times I would like to comment on a product or service, but then realize that my words will get back to the owner, and may be used against me later. The truth is the truth, unless suppressed, then it is useless. The fact is, the truth usually comes from both sides. Who only wants to hear the positives? I want to hear the reasons why I might NOT want to buy a product, etc.

    I also think that once a vendor is invited and comments, any consumer or user of the product is way less willing to participate and actually speak of their own experiences after the fact. So future readers of the thread, are left really with nothing more than a "marketing" post from the supplier, and everyone coming later is left to "learn from your own experiences".

    Yes, I can see how nobody wants a "pile on" situation where a company may be damaged from conversations. But unless there is personal agendas, which I admit are hard to see sometimes, hearing the negatives and actually less than positive experiences are sometimes worth reading and knowing about.

    It's human nature to want to know if someone is bashing you. And that is but one follow-up or side issue. I'm just saying or questioning the true replies you get from individuals when the supplier is watching. Some suppliers would never put their input out there, even if they are the consumer to another supplier, because of backlash, even if they were doing nothing but speaking the truth.

    I personally want open, truthful, and comments both good and bad about a business. Not a watered down version because someone asked the company to "monitor" the discussion. If companies want to partake in discussions on a forum, then let them. But many do little more then monitor the sites to head off any criticism, and market a product every now and then. Meanwhile their lurking stifles true comments.

    It has happened many times. Someone asks about a particular bee provider or operation, and the first hint of anything negative, someone suggests we can not discuss a business unless we "ask" the company to participate. Why is that? I would think that inhibits the discussion.

    And that my friends, is the way I see it.

    As always, comments welcome....unless they are negative about my business..... :thumbsup: Of course I am already a contributing member of the forum, and perhaps some slack is called for.... :beg:
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Now there is one I can totally and wholeheartedly disagree with. If you won't say it to my face, then don't say it behind my back. If I have a problem with your business, or anyone else's, I will say it to you first. Then if you don't solve the problem, I will say it to others. I will never go behind someone's back and say things I wouldn't say to their face.

    I saw another thread in another forum where nearly all posts turned negative. The owners were invited, and some were resolved, and some were proved to be supplier problems that were never corrected. I like it like that. I'm not a back stabber and will talk to a person face to face even more frankly then when he isn't present.
     

  3. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Well iddee, that may be what you feel. But that response fails to acknowledge that some would rather speak of their experiences without knowing they are being "monitored" and possibly opening themselves up for attack.

    I'll take publications as example. You say anything critical of them, and one response has been repeated over and over...."Those who buy ink in barrels, always gets the last say!"

    I have no problems with this forum. But are you suggesting that nobody has an issue with any of the forums? Heck yes they do. But only a fool would get on the forum and speak of anything negative. Some owners would take it as constructive, while others would ban you. Some have criticism as reason for termination. That same mentality carries over into many facets of our lives. It is not about "stabbing" another in the back. It is about not speaking of a vendor, a publication, a business, or anything else, if you ever want to do business again with them. Even if what you say is the truth.

    I think it honest of you in your reply. But it fails to see the politics, the repression, or the fact that some will not actually speak the truth but for fear, and perhaps even a good ol' boy mentality among some within any business.

    I think forums should be a place where people can come and express their views without such pressure. You suggest that it either does not exist, or fail to see that it actually does impact some replies. Blacklisting, blackballed, banning, cut-off,.....never heard of such things huh? They are effective and have been used for years. You are concentrating on a certain situation, while I am looking at the bigger picture, and the reality that this all does happen in the real world.

    I'm not suggesting that a debate on one time instances should be made. But I will suggest, that if NOT for the discussion to begin with, what kind of company had that many upset customers, and but for an online discussion forcing them into action, nothing was done prior?

    Character is what a company does when nobody is watching, not when someone IS watching...... :thumbsup:

    Your suggesting that such a discussion made it possible for the company to settle unresolved issues that they failed to correct prior. I guess that has merit. Does not say much about the company. And perhaps this is another topic. But the discussion at hand was the idea that some may not be up front and willing to honestly contribute in their experiences knowing that they are being watched. And that does happen. Whether it counts for you or not.

    I acknowlege that it does exist, and that by running out and asking a company to sit by and offer rebuttals, adds to the suppressing of some people's views.
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I ran a business for 25 years before retiring. One of the things which would make me the maddest was for a customer to say nothing but niceties to me about a deal and then tell others how bad it had been, without ever giving me a chance to know what happened and correct it. If you have never made a mistake or had a bad luck happening in your business, then you are the exception. Many things go wrong in the field that the business owner never knows about, and without good feed back, cannot correct it in the future. Without the vendor having a say in the discussion, he cannot stop doing what he doesn't know is not acceptable.

    We had a heated discussion on this forum, to the point that some posts were deleted. In the end, tho, the vendor made the adjustments I wanted to see made, and I have spent well over a thousand dollars with him since. I would not have if he had not given his side of the story. He is still a respected member of this forum and I still do business with him.

    I stick to my feelings, one sided stories never give the whole picture.
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    You act as if the forum is the place for vendors to get feedback. That is the vendors responsibility that can be completed in many ways. A forum is a place to get feedback, unobstructed, without bias, fear, or slanted or influenced by the vendor. You act as if not for the forum, the vendor has no way of getting feedback. But without having a place to "collect" this feedback, then the buying community does not get a chance to see honest feedback from those willing to give it.

    Why is feedback from a cross section of customers "One sided", or considered "back stabbing". It is neither. It is what feedback is. Comments good and bad, about a business. Your making feedback on a forum out to be a bad thing, without a rebuttal after the fact by the vendor. Which when completed in this manner, is supressing by nature.

    Yes, without feedback, a vendor can not grow. But it is up to the vendor to seek that feedback. Not to run out and effect honest feedback by thinking you are being the knight in shining armor, by allowing the very feedback to be suppressed, which does happen.

    Of course everyone should realize anything said is open for viewing, even by vendors. But how many would comment if a warning was posted "After 5 feedbacks, we will contact the vendor, ask for rebuttals, and allow them to comment. So please take this to heart and don't say anything nasty, even if the truth, for it may come back and bite you in the hiney!"

    I would rather see honest comments, without the person knowing we run out and say to the vendor "You better stop by the forum and offer your side, because a valued member of the forum, one to which you do not belong, has said some negative things about past dealings with you."

    And if you think that would not suppress honest comments, then well, I'm not sure how else to put it.... :hi:

    The forum is for feedback. Not mediation. Few would want to be in the middle of meddling moderators who feel it best to be mediators. People want a place to express their experiences.

    Just my opinion.
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    So how is it feedback if the vendor never sees it.

    Feedback is getting the customers opinion back to the vendor.

    Back to the vendor, not to everybody else, when it is just a person's opinion where that person never has to show proof, just his word.

    So maybe you say something on a forum I don't like, so I start bashing your business, but you can't make a comeback.
    Is that the platform you are wanting?
     
  7. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    So that is the responsibility of the forum. To collect feedback and get back to the vendor? I don't think so. If it is, then state it so.
     
  8. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I google my business, and do what I can. Sometimes little birdies whisper in my ear. Sometimes the grapevine talks. But that responsibility is my own. As a business owner, I take the good and the bad. Some responses on some sites are not worth responding too. In all honesty, my business is word of mouth and many repeat customers. Of course there will be a jerk every now and then. And as that same business owner, I realize that will happen.

    But that is a far cry from a forum, taking it upon themselves to seek rebuttals, mediate, and activily seek responses to members offering honest (Yes, I'll assume them to be honest) opinions, experiences, and feedback.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    >>>>to members offering honest (Yes, I'll assume them to be honest) opinions, <<<

    If you can guarantee that they are, I will reverse my opinion and agree with you totally.

    If I read on another forum that you are selling dope and shipping it in packages of bees, I will notify you immediately.

    I also don't know of an instance on this forum where a mod or admin has notified a vendor. All that I know of were notified by rank and file members. I don't consider that to be the forum acting on it.
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    OK. You asked for thoughts... I gave mine. Now let's sit back and wait for a few others to weigh in.
     
  11. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Ok. I'm going to bed. But send me a PM if anyone says anything bad about me.. :thumbsup:
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    kind of a funny exchange going on in this tread...

    I can see why even though iddee and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum we get along so well. I have ran and worked for all kinds of business large and small and would say that without some process of generating constructive comments on the quality of your work (or product) pretty soon you product with have NONE.

    I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE as to why anyone would feel intimidated or fearful of telling a business owner of exactly where or how their operation may be falling short. if you VALUE the product or service provide by someone you are doing the business and the owner no service by keeping mum when their service or products is lacking. actually if I like the 'climate' of a given business I feel it is my duty to inform the owner when I think there are issues of quality that are not being attended too.

    by and large I think the idea of asking suppliers to comment is quite appropriate. if they (suppliers) reflect on any issue within a thread involving their product or service in an improper way or tone.... I pretty much decide then that they are not the kind of folks who I might wish to send my money with.
     
  13. TwT

    TwT New Member

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    I see no problem with asking a vendor to come and answer questions about new or old products, I have no problem with a vendor dis-guessing a problem with a disgruntled costumer, like others here I would like to know if what I was selling was getting a one sided story told with out my input going in. selling anything for a length of time will get a negative side sometimes and the vendor should expect and be able to handle it in a professional manner, but in the end it will never change, you will always have to remember when writing anything on the internet that it's open to the world then, so the best thing to do is do on to others as you would have them do on to you because the internet IS open to the world.
     
  14. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Ok, I'll try connecting the dots. Stay with me. :thumbsup:

    Tec, you said "I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE as to why anyone would feel intimidated or fearful of telling a business owner of exactly where or how their operation may be falling short."

    I agree. But we are mixing oranges and apples. I think any customer should bring forth complaints to the owner. But that is not the same as expressing experiences and feedback later when someone asks for it. I didn't say anyone was afraid of complaining to an owner, but certainly it does go on when feedback is relayed to others. I'll explain with some examples......

    Lets look at some examples.....

    1) Do you think getting on this forum and REALLY expressing your opinion about other forums, is going to fly? Now why not? John, I suppose, does not want a "battle" to erupt over comments made about another forum. Could that be fear, intimidation, or something else. Maybe some could say "professionalism". (And I'll deal with this "Don't snitch society" we live in shortly)

    What do you suppose would happen if someone posted a thread asking "What do people think of the others forums?" Sounds like a reasonable question of a supplier/vendor/other of anybody in the bee industry. But lets not fool ourselves. Some things are just not going to be discussed openly. Behind the scenes, bashing, ego's and crapping on the other forums happens all the time. I've read it, and seen it. So asking why anyone would be fearful or intimidated.....does not even need to be explained beyond the forum level. And if you did come here and mentioned the good and bad of another forum, you probably would not be welcome back at the other... :wave:

    2) Two years ago, I made some comments about a couple operations that sell nucs. I was suggesting that being aware of who you buy nucs may be best. That some larger commercial guys who treat, also sell nucs. And if the buyer does not keep up the treatment regiment, that problems could be a possibility. I was attacked for "bashing" the competition. A letter writing campaign followed. But yet, I heard from many beekeepers and inspectors from other states, that thanked me for bringing the issue to light, and agreed it was a problem.

    3) I've listened to many conversations about the pros and cons of the honey board. Seems like some beekeepers do not agree with a "honey tax", and will privately complain. But you see little in print on the matter. I wonder why?

    4) One of the hot topics this past summer was the amount of truck loads that were seen headed south after pollination in California. I had people comment this had been going on for years. Nobody will touch that topic with a ten foot stick. I wonder why?

    5) I've had people comment about people, articles, or even about bee mags...... in private. But you will never see them make comments where it could be read by the very people that they advertise with. No way!

    Seems conversations about the industry, and about vendors, are much more honest in public than they are on forums. But ask them to state on a forum what they think of a vendor, a bee mag, a bee association.....and it will not happen. Best that those things are banished to private matters. Nobody wants to lose advertising, create revenge comments, or have comments used against them.

    So what happens.....many will not give feedback at all. They do not want the hassle. We live in a "don't snitch" society, with the phrase "If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all". We have all heard it.

    So how open and honest is feedback? You may get some sliver of honesty from those that do not have any vested interest or anything to lose. But beyond that, little else will come forth.

    Not too long ago, a thread on another forum was removed all together because the person being mentioned threatened legal action. Some forums do not even allow such discussions. They do not want the problems.

    So what are we left with? A sprinkling of honesty that seemingly is watered down further by members knowing there comments will be questioned (Iddee suggested that perhaps not all comments are truthful), beekeepers perhaps feeling intimidated and not wanting the "confrontation" of knowing their requested feedback for others to consider, will be disputed.

    It goes beyond that one time purchase of a queen and commenting on the customer service. The idea that you say nothing bad encompasses all levels within the bee industry. It is a small bee industry and everyone seemingly knows everyone. And very few are willing to give honest feedback when everyone is watching.

    I, as I'm sure many others, have no problems telling an owner of problems I have. But that that is a far cry from honest feedback on an open forum, that often times opens up the consumer to a host of issues.

    One is apples...and the other is oranges. :hi:

    For the record, I have no problems with this forum or any above mentioned companies/vendors. I used them as examples and perhaps because others have mentioned them to me in private. And if I did have an issue, I would certainly take the issue up with them as I have many times before. But I also know that for me to express some of those same problems/experiences/dealings...on an open forum in the form of feedback for all the world to see......may not be taken as graciously as when done in private. Hence......true feedback is stifled, for many reasons. Not hard to understand. And when people know they will be confronted by the business they are giving feedback on, it suppresses it further.
     
  15. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

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    If you like my product, tell your friends. If you don't, tell me. I've seen that in a few places. But not recently.
     
  16. Charles

    Charles New Member

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    Wow this has really turned into a thread :box: I figure I should put in my 2 cents.

    I think most people fear the retaliation associated with a bad forum post about a person/supplier and would prefer to say nothing at all rather than start an argument about who was right or wrong. This is especially true for the beginners who don't have the confidence level to say without a doubt "I did everything right so the problem is with your product and not with how I used it"

    Now as far as whether vendors should join in the conversation, that's a tough one and really depends on the vendor themselves, if someone questions a product and the vendor takes the viewpoint that his product is perfect and is unwilling to take any constructive criticism then the thread will die and nobody will learn anything from it, on the other hand if the vendor realizes he has an opportunity to get the opinions of users new and old about the actual performance of his product in the field and is willing to take the time to listen and make improvements...well then, that was a thread worth starting :thumbsup:
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    knowin' I ain't suppose to quote bjorn I will take exception here... with...
    'Seems conversations about the industry, and about vendors, are much more honest in public than they are on forums.'

    tecumseh:
    interesting observation and yes I guess you would get no argument from me that to a large degree our society is almost by design somewhat disingenious with a high social value in being adapt at speaking out of both sides of one's mouth (it would be no problem I would guess to describe any number of ways this split personality trait is bult right into our language and our social interaction) . it ain't the way I would like (or intend) to operate... but then at my age I need not worry about offending folks so much. I do know (via experience) that almost anyone can pay dearly for going againist this 'typical' social norm.

    at the end of the day I do know that much that happens in a lot of business is not at all obvious to the owner. if service is sloppy or inattentive the owner will only find out when some loyal customer tells them or when they go bankrupt. on the flip side (which I guess is a bit like the apples and oranges thingee) I also know that largely we are a country of whiners and some folks will complain no matter how excellent the service or product might be. I suspect most folks who run a business (with any level of competition in play) do seem capable of discerning an honest decription of lack of quality in product or service from just more whining.
     
  18. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Charles,
    I agree.

    I think that is the difference between "feedback" and bringing forth a "complaint". And I think the discussion has blended the two.

    If a forum member claims he paid for something, and it was not delivered, etc., then that is a complaint, and the forum (you) needs to decide if it is the best interest of the forum to contact the vendor, and continue on some level. Certainly if you have members suggesting someone is a crook, taking money, etc., which has happened in the past, then getting both sides out in the open might be best for all involved. But the emphasis should be on helping the forum member.

    Feedback, to me, is one person's opinion on how they were treated, how the customer service was, shipping time, quality of product, etc. It is one customers opinion and experiences, whether good or bad. Not to be debated. Not for a vendor to confront. It was what it was. It is what it is.

    I think that "compliants" and a vendor knowing that it is being discussed on the forum, might be motivating. The vendor may make amends and correct the situation. This can get complicated and some forums do not want the hassle. I personally think that some issues have been helped in the past, but again I say "If the reason the vendor made an effort was because of all the discussions on a forum, and he ignored phone calls and all attemps previously, then I don't care if he make amends or not. It shows a lack character"

    Feedback, and how a customer felt, needs no response or debate from a vendor. A good vendor will use the information constructively, and perhaps keep his mouth shut. A vendor that wants to "confront" a customer given his assessment of the business transaction, is questionable. The buyer should be encouraged to bring it forth, without the idea that he will be confronted. Honest feed back needs not be debated.

    Contacting a vendor in attempts to help a forum member is one thing. Contacting a vendor because someone is commenting "I did not have good luck with those particular queens" or "The shipping time was missed and I got them a week late" isn't really cause for running out and contacting a company.

    As iddee, pointed out, I'm not really talking about this forum. I am mentioning my experiences on other forums. And it seems any feedback comments on a business or product is almost automatically met with "We need to go out and get this person to comment".

    A complaint is one thing. Feedback is another.