I second your “direct feedback” approach! We have had multiple sitters and are currently on our second sit with two more booked. As owners, we ask our sitters, “What could we have done to make your sit better or more comfortable?” As sitters, we reach out to owners as ask, “What could we do to make your return home better?” This opens up the opportunity for constructive feedback before posting reviews, a win-win all around. And even with a less than stellar experience, there will always be something positive to say and a lesson to be learned.
When multiple sitters do not leave a review, I consider it a red flag.
This is problematic if there are only 2 or 3 previous sitters and one of them did not leave a review. Is that a red flag? What do you think?
I think it is a red flag because everyone on THS knows how important reviews are.
100%. And that is part of the feedback I give directly, especially to new members. Make sure every sitter leaves you a review. If a sitter doesn’t leave a review, there’s usually a reason for it and many of us see it as a red flag. I’ve stopped applying for pet sits if there are missing reviews and have had to learn the hard way.
My last sitter did not leave a review so I asked her (privately)if there was anyway I could improve my home to make it better for sitters and her only answer was to include a pic of the spare bed and bath since they were so nice. I hate to direct someone to leave a review if they don’t do so. Again, we have to be so careful to not tick people off.
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I always ask every pet owner to leave me a review and will give them a gentle reminder via text after the sit, it’s so important, as this is how we build trust within our community and helps us secure future pet sits. I think most people understand this when you explain it to them, from my experience anyway.
One thing I would suggest to you is that when screening potential sitters, check to see if everyone has left them reviews for their pet sits and what the reviews say about them, and also that they have left reviews for all of their past pet owners, you can cross reference this to see if they left reviews. I prefer to work with people who are open, transparent and direct with me, as I am with them, and you’ll get a good sense of that by reading their past reviews. Video chats help a lot, too. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and have found that it’s extremely important that I am aligned with whoever I choose to sit for, reviews are the best way for me to get a sense of that.
@catdad1 its absolutely OK to ask your sitters for feedback! We are sitters and always ask every host for a review! As this is a no money exchange reviews/feedbacks are the currency we use to support each other!
I have just completed a sit where multiple sitters didn’t leave a review, but it was great. There are no hard and fast rules. Some people just don’t like writing reviews I guess, or they forget.
Very interesting- thank you for sharing
I looked but cannot see previous sitters for a house/sit. Where do you find/see that? It’s something that i certainly would find handy to know. Thanks
I agree with @Lokstar that it’s ok to ask for sitter feedback.
But I get feeling worried about ticking people off. Especially as you said in another topic that it’s hard to get sitters in your area.
I want to encourage you to consider that being more transparent could be good. E.g., being transparent about wanting feedback. When we hide something like our true feelings, it can cause anxiety that people can pick up on; and it’s not good for our health anyway. It can also make others feel they can’t be honest with you, which can lead to more miscommunications.
I think over-communicating and being proactive are helpful tools. Also, just see how other people do/recommend this. You can google how Airbnb hosts request feedback, or eBay sellers, app makers, etc.
And of course, you won’t get 100% compliance. But you can improve your odds.
For example, what I’ve seen some Airbnb hosts do is send an email right after a sit like, “Thank you for staying! I hope you feel I gave 5-star service. If so, I would really appreciate a review. Here’s the link. If my service/home were anything less than stellar, please give me a chance to rectify that by contacting me at X.” Ok, maybe I’m mixing Airbnb and Walmart, but you can google for details. =)
From another recent topic:
If you look at a listing on the phone app you will see all previous sitters whether they left feedback or not. Just scroll down the listing and it shows ‘Previous sitters’ Click on it and scroll sideways. Every previous sitter shows- with or without feedback.
On the desk top you will only see ‘Previous sitters’ if any left a review. If no one left a review that section is absent and it can appear they had no previous sitters.
Therefore its always good to cross check with the app. No previous sitters is just that- no reference to go by. But if the app shows you there were actually 3 previous (or whatever number) sitters and no one left feedback- its a red flag to most of us!!
Thank you very much!
Thank you very much for replying, much appreciated.
For my last sit, the HO left a short review with all 5 stars, and I looked at all the feedback he left for his other sitters and they were all also short. He expressed a lot of gratitude by his own initiative to me in private. I did extra responsibilities he didn’t even mention in his review but he very much appreciated in our correspondence.
I also see plenty of Homeowners giving perfect 5-star short reviews for some sits but then leaving long, detailed negative reviews for others when I research.
Just like how 5-star product reviews on Amazon can range to being very short to very long, so can sit reviews here on THS even if all are equally happy. When some people’s entire expectations are fully met or even surpassed, they don’t really have much to say. Different review styles.
No, not necessarily. All the HOs I have sat for have been excellent with some missing reviews.
That’s true, not everyone writes a whole book. I was just speaking for myself in that I tend to leave shorter reviews for pet sits where I have fewer compliments. I tend to ramble a bit too much if it was a great pet sit and will elaborate on a lot of the details, where I tend to leave a lot out if things didn’t go so well. I was also speaking for myself in terms of pet owners with missing reviews, I’ve had some bad experiences, so I prefer to go with those who aren’t missing reviews. Again, just from my own personal experience.
On the flip side, I love pet sitting for new members of the community. It gives me a chance to walk them through the process, help them marketing their listings, and introduce them to how great this community is. All of the new members I have encountered are thrilled to be part of our group and are so appreciative and amazed by everything we offer.
This is why I hate these ‘secret codes’ where we have to read between the lines to decide if the sit had issues.
Many sitters say a short review is an indication of a sit that didn’t go well. But this is not foolproof. Some people just don’t write a lot. Another example of such a code is if sitters don’t say: “I’d happily recommend this sit”, or “I’d be back given the opportunity”. I think this is nonsense too. If I don’t know your writing style, I would never know what you didn’t write…
Understood, I feel the same way. That’s why I try to do a video chat with every pet owner prior to the sit to make sure it’s mutually a good fit for all of us, that’s really the best indicator for me.
As others have mentioned before, the current review system doesn’t allow for “blind reviews” as Air Bnb has set up. I’m not sure if there are any plans to change this in the future. So in the meantime, we will all have to use our intuition, have those honest conversations with pet owners and hope for the best.
@botvot I agree with you, it’s often better to say things more directly. Not everyone will understand hidden meanings.