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"It's SOOO expensive!" - should I reply?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
So I just got a three-star Yelp review. Click here to see it.

Basically, she liked us and the frame she got, but she thinks it's way overpriced at $160. (Price check? 7-1/4"x21-1/2" artwork, 2" mat border, Peterboro A1304 top mat, Crescent 1560 bottom mat. Bonanza Wood BW203-304 frame, conservation clear glass). She *claims* that her friend got a similar piece framed for $20!

So here's the thing: do I respond to this review? Part of me wants to do a little education as to just what *custom* framing is all about (and I'd also like to know how her friend framed her piece for $20. That doesn't even cover my cost of materials on this job!), and how our price is pretty middle-of-the-road for what she was getting. Another part of me feels that I would just be inviting debate over the "fairness" of my pricing and in the process I'd just be digging myself deeper into a bad PR space.


(Oh, and as for the "SNL skit" bit? That may be because both my assistant and my wife were helping her, then when I popped out of the back room I went over to ooh and aah the piece... it was actually a nice piece! Most customers seem to appreciate it when you "like" their work, but was that too much? Check out the photos she attached to the review)
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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Anyone remotely familiar with buying framing is going to view her comment as unreasonable. No one can buy custom framing for $20 anywhere and $160 is a quoted price that will make most readers instinctively think "Oh, that sounds very reasonable!" So I wouldn't sweat the comment. It makes you look better than her already. It's more positive than you think.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I agree.

At the bottom where it says "Was this review?" Useful, funny or cool, I clicked on "funny" because it's somewhat ridiculous. Not sure if that registers anywhere.

You have enough positive reviews that I don't think this one even deserves an airing.


WOW Framer
I agree. Only two I could see (including that one) were negative,
and the rest very positive. Most likely, anyone reading it will
think that the twenty dollar bit shows a lack of understanding.
I enjoyed reading the reviews from your happy customers.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I would just let that one go. Not worth the energy to worry about it.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I wouldn't worry to much either and no, what can you say to something like that? Let it go. People will always complain about price.

She spent an hour picking out design. It was custom made. You can't do that for $20 (and I think that was a straight out lie anyway)


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
BTW - customers like this are one reason I'm no longer using Groupon and the like. I had another "Groupon" customer come in who balked at the price and claimed that she could do a bigger piece for $50 at the DIY framer.

My assistant needs to frame some stuff up for a show, and she's concerned about the price even with her generous employee discount. I suggested she contact this person and ask where she can get framing for $20 :)


Angry Badger
Sour grapes.
She knew the price going in and had agreed to pay it before you finalized the order. Complaining about the price at this point only makes her look indecisive and whiney.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Wow, I totally disagree. I suggest you look at how Dominos pizza handled their recent marketing to use this as an opportunity to strengthen your brand. This customer has chosen to discuss with others their feelings about your business. There are some good points and some negative points. Like Dominos pizza, you have an opportunity to either put your head in the sand and say "well, what do they know" or you have a chance to communicate with the customer, thank them for the good points, acknowledge what bad things they are saying and without attacking or coming across in a bad manner explain why their price was what it was.
I'm guessing you know what they framed, and what you used. I would craft a response that reads similar to ......

Dawn, thank you for sharing your experience at our store. I had to smile with your reference to the SNL skit. We often get excited when people bring interesting art and projects in. In fact, we discussed how cool your piece was a few more times over the next few days. I want to thank you for your comments on price. With a design like yours, where we used Acid free this, conservation that, blah-blah (insert your beautiful explanation here) we feel a price of around $160 is quite fair. We often shop our competitors in the marketplace and know that we are very fairly priced. I think it's great that your friend was able to get theirs for less (I'm guessing $120 with a $100 deal like you had), but want to make sure that you know that ours is the type of business where it is difficult to compare things item to item. There are many ways that the other frame shop could have chosen to frame her project differently that could easily create a difference in price. For instance, if they chose to use paper mats instead of Xxxx or they sold her regular glass (which would not protect their art from fading like we did by putting Conservation glass on yours to protect those beautiful colors), or they used a different moulding sourced out of Asia instead of produced here in the United States like the one we used on yours, these types of design choices are quite capable of changing the price of a piece similar to yours. Most of our business comes from repeat customers who know the quality of the work we do and who understand that we work hard to make sure that we are price competitive. I hope you will give us another chance to prove to you that we should be your framer of choice.

Again, thanks for sharing your experience and I hope to earn a higher ranking from you in the future!

p.s. - if you really meant she got the whole piece framed for $20, please let me know where that is. You can't even buy a ready made frame from Kmart for that price. Thanks.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sour grapes.
She knew the price going in and had agreed to pay it before you finalized the order. Complaining about the price at this point only makes her look indecisive and whiney.
Tell that to her peers that are using this type of service to make their buying decisions. They will relate more to her than to some of the other posts. The positive ones are great but if you ask any 20 - 30 something that relies upon these types of services, they really trust the negative ones because they know they are the truth. At least she gave him 3 stars and did say some positives.


PFG, Picture Framing God
I would normally say that a little "framing education" is in order...but there's another post about the plus of your business NOT treating people like a framing moron.

I commend you on the way you handled yourself with the husband who complained.

I think if you simply "thank her" for her post and comment that you have a variety of items for every budget...that would be enough.


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I would definitely respond - but in the most extremely positive way possible.

I would never let anyone take a swipe at my business in such a public forum and not say anything about it. Silence can be confused with agreement, and since you responded to an earlier review, as a consumer I might wonder why you didn't respond to this one. It must be true!

It really bothers me that someone who doesn't know what they are talking about can reach a lot of people with their ignorant gibberish, and negatively affect someone's livelihood.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
This type of review does tend to be negative. People tend to be more keen to deal out derision than praise.

If they have an axe to grind they will. If they don't they don't say anything. Not fair really.

Pity you can't respond to the crits. Or can you...... :p


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Compare it to Amazon reviews.

When I want buy a product; I always read the negative reviews first as they might be the most critical.

However; someone complaining about price; I usually don't even read that. They knew the price when they placed the order...

Paul; I love your answer. Not sure if I would be that wordy...but it has some good points.

Not your average framer

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I would reply with this simple answer,

"How many years ago did your friend get custom framing done for twenty dollars?" She must have a good memory. I can't remember how long ago that must have been!


PFG, Picture Framing God
$20? Maybe that friend bought a $20 readymade and shoved their "artwork" into it, but I doubt anyone framed it for her at that price. Unless her friend went to China and found some slave labor, but even then, the airfare to China and back is $2000.


PFG, Picture Framing God
A group buy customer, of course. I will answer a negative Yelp review if there is somthing that will shed light on the problem, but in this case I would not worry at all. The customer actually said a few nice things about you and the $20. comment is absurd. You don't want customers with those expectations unless you carry ready-made frames and can slap the art in a frame and send them out the door with it.

I would focus on getting some good reviews to bury this one. You are not supposed to ask for reviews but you can point out your Yelp site to regular customers who may get the idea. When customers "Liked" our site through a Facebook promotion last fall, the system asked them for a Facebook review. We got about 16 great reviews in just a few days. With a little nudging it can be done.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I think everyone is missing the point on the $20.

This customer bought a deal on Living Social. Their framing was $160 so they paid $100 after the Living Social Deal.

My take is that the other person had a deal with another shop and whatever number that was, they had to pay an additional $20. Thereby making it cheaper than Jim for what they thought wasn't significantly different.

That's why I thought he should put some detail in a response.

I would think she would be complaining about the framing being $140 more if the other persons order was only $20 total.

I might be wrong, but that's my take.

By the way, crummy that when I look at the response today there is a Yelp ad right below your store information where West Roxbury Framing Center is offering a 35% discount. Right on what looks like your page. Tacky.


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." Red Adair
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