Shopify "Expert" Reviews - Extremely Biased

K-9_Solutions_I
Tourist
6 0 8

I spent considerable time going through the Shopify "Experts" to find one that I thought would fit well with what I was trying to achieve in launching my store Huntindawg.myshopify.com.  If you go there, you'll find not diddly squat is done - a full month plus after hiring my setup consultant Zimidi.  The reviews are awesome - not a downside to any of them...

Now I know why.  Shopify does not control the review process - the reviewee does.  So - if they decide to bail on you after a month of non-performance like David at Zimidi did - even after expressing that they had a chance to salvage the business opportunity - the "Expert" just doesn't send you a link to do a review.  There's no recourse.

Put zero faith in the Reviews - because if people are moderated by the Reviewee, they will never give a link to a disgruntled customer.  Don't presume that Shopify filters any "experts" and that they are in fact qualified or somehow vetted and required to hold to a level of professionalism in order to be shopify experts.

Certainly Shopify can request verification of a business agreement between the parties - and I'm more than happy to demonstrate I hired and PAID Zimidi.  I should have the right to review them, as should EVERY client that uses Shopify Experts.  This is a seriously flawed system that I'm sure Shopify will say they rarely have a problem with.  I say Bunk.

I see other threads on the subject and then it will be closed or deleted so no one else can post their similar situation.  Time to put on the Big Boy Pants Shopify and let us review your experts in a transparent system.  As retailers we can do it - why can't you?

Replies 34 (34)
Shabayek
Shopify Partner
50 0 8

Maybe you can share with us what did you ask Zimidi to provide you, what did you expect, and what did you get at the end, and most of all, what would could Zimidi (or any expert in his place) do to re-gain your trust again.

I know it's a bit off-topic, but I'm curious to read your reply.

Copywriter, a.k.a. Online Marketer.
Dan_Eveleigh
Shopify Staff (Retired)
10 0 2

Thanks very much for this feedback. We are very sorry that you had a poor experience with this Expert. I am a little shocked, as we have had next to no issues with the work and communication done by them or any other of our Experts. If you could please send me the specifics dan (dot) eveleigh @shopify.com I would appreciate it.

Regarding the reviews, we place the ability to request a review in the hands of the Experts, as this insures we only receive feedback from true clients of theirs. We are still working on a way to make this more efficient and fair. Please know that Experts themselves do not approve reviews. The review request is sent, and is posted as is. Also, adding a review to Experts is not a 'right'. We allowed for this to occur, where previously reviews were not available at all. Many marketplaces do not give this option.

Thanks again. This feedback is very important to us, and is always approached with great care.

Dan

K-9_Solutions_I
Tourist
6 0 8

Exactly the same cut and paste response from the other thread that complains about the system.  You shouldn't be shocked, it's happening repeatedly, and this is the same canned answer.  I have contacted shopify through both live chat and e-mail support.  Damage control time to save face for the "Testimonials", not Reviews is over.  It's time for transparency and a change to the review system if Shopify wants people to have any faith in the Reviews, or the alleged "experts" supported by Shopify.

Shopify has been "working on this" for some many months if not years, yet the response is the same.  It is very easily proven whether a business relationship occurred.  Again - leaving the gatekeeper of WHO gets to review them in the hands of the person being reviewed introduces extreme bias and flaws to the system.  So what they don't get to edit the review after it's written - if they even sniff they might not get a glowing review they simply say - nope - you don't get to review us.

The response of "many platforms don't even allow this".  Really?  That's what Shopify wants to stand on?  The Expert service IS the product.  Product Review is, as I'm sure Shopify knows very well, an extremely important aspect of ANY online purchase in todays market.  Keep with that.  I'm sure it will work out just great.

 

I will send you the info at your

K-9_Solutions_I
Tourist
6 0 8

Zimidi Advertises a Setup package.  It's $500 which is pretty standard to the experts.  I expected them to:

Assist in choosing a theme.  This they did and did well - we were off to a great start.

Setup the store with the logo (which we provided via a shared drop-box)  This was not done.

Setup the store with Horizontal slider images (which we provided via a shared drop-box)  This was not done.

Assist in setting up the Navigation and Products.  This is the area that is most complex to me and was never addressed.

Keep me updated on work being done - they advertise a "Speed-Status" system that keeps the client informed along the way.  The last speed status message I received was

"Great! We found everything we need in the Dropbox to get started. We've added you to the worklist for graphics and navigation and we'll send you an updated SpeedStatus message as soon as we're done"

Then three weeks go by with me asking when are we going to see something - I get a "we called but have a bad number.  Now there were two prior Zimidi initiated teleconferences to the same number that reached me just fine, and e-mail works.

Then they tell me they were waiting on Navigation guidance from me.  They never communicated anything they needed from me, just said that we had been added to the worklist for graphics and navigation and would send a message when they were done.

What they advertise as included in the package is:

$500 Starter Package
Zimidi's Starter Package is our most popular option because it offers everything you need to sell online for just $500. We customize a professional theme that works on desktop and mobile. We help you create and layout custom content to make your site look great. We even organize your products and menus to make it easy to shop.

Awesome Personal Training
Read the reviews below to see why our unique one-on-one training -- included with your Starter Package -- is a client favorite. You'll learn expert tips on creating and editing products, working with customers, orders, and shipments, and even advanced SEO. No other Expert offers anything like it.

Now I didn't expect they would do everything, but I expected they would set up the framework and show me tools and tips to manage the products and what they advertise, etc.  They simply decided not to work on my project and left me hanging.  I didn't think I was asking for anything extra, but apparently they think I was.  If I was, then all they needed to do was explain what was extra and I would have decided whether or not to add more time in their service - they never even broached the subject until they said they didn't think we were a good fit, nearly six weeks after taking the retainer, two telephone consults and me responding to every request they had...

I specifically contacted them twice by phone and finally a third time by e-mail trying to get a response.  In the e-mail I told them I was giving them an opportunity to salvage the business relationship.  I highlighted the time delays and basically said they need to pay attention to my project.  Is that so out of line when you hire a consultant?  I think not.  They then just bailed.  They put no effort into salvaging the relationship - and have no fear of a repercussion of a negative review as since I've requested three times for the review prompt and they've gone nuclear silent.  But I'm sure I'm the only one that has had any problem according to Shopify. (sarcasm)

All I want from an expert is to do what they commit to.  If they make a mistake or overbook - admit to it and work to correct.  They did neither. If we differ on the scope, then we discuss it and come up with a change order to do more.  Scope creep in a project is normal, and if a client is satisfied with the services they generally are happy to buy more service from a provider with which they already have a relationship.  It's what a business does and how it responds to a customer issue that truly separates the Professionals from the rest.  My opinion, Zimidi failed miserably.

 

Aleksandr
Shopify Partner
132 0 16

I also think the review systems themselves, in the App Store and in the Expert Directory, can use a little bit of Shopify developer loving. I've seen many cases where there are borderline fake reviews and cases where customers simply jump to conclusions without knowing the facts when leaving negative reviews. 

Shopify: Perhaps a way to upvote/bury certain reviews? Also, what about the ability for the developers to responded to reviews as well (positive and negative)? 

Refersion - Affiliate Program Platform for Shopify | Traffic Control - Bulk Redirect Manager for Shopify
Jason
Shopify Expert
10438 168 2081

Generally I don't disagree. I would be happy to see positive and negative reviews as feedback is the cornerstone to improvement, but I think making it a for all expert jobs is concept tricky to manage.

One stumbling block for transparency is that even though I fire off review requests all the time but I would only see 50% of them filled out. I'd assume that's the case for most experts. So you could end up with some poor designer that only has negative reviews - even if they are an awesome designer - as those unhappy clients are the only ones that felt like sending one. So even with a forced review system, it will never be accurate.

Now there are times that I don't send one and I would never want to see that change:

  1. When I was involved as a third party and there's no direct communication between me and the store owner. It may be politically incorrect to ask for a review.
  2. If I did such a teeny tiny amount of work it may not even warrant a review. Making a store owner submit a review for a minutes work just seems rude. Some stores could also be using a team of experts - how does a store owner review each one when they could all do very different things (that may be hard for the to discern)?
  3. If I am being included as a silent third party - contractually (aka, I am legally bound to not say that I was involved). I'd not want the connection between me and the store broadcasted in this case, even if privately to another store.
  4. Peace / sanity keeping. I occasionally get jobs in blocks of certain industry types (so fitness, fashion, etc) and I may not want to advertise my involvement with all of them. This is also partly an attempt to avoid being too typecast for a certain industry.

As a side point, I am not even sure how you could even force send a review for each job - how would the system know a job is done, or if work was even done in the first place?

Thankfully I've had great client relationships so I've never not sent one out a review request. The reasons for project failure could be on either side so if was not on the designers end, I can see the appeal in not sending one. I would expect that the reviews are there to serve as a guide, and a guide alone. It's that conversation with the expert that should seal the deal for you or not. If you've got a nice job contract, you should be reasonably covered should they turn out to be dodgy.

I'm in two minds about posting your experience here though - this seems like something that should be between you and the developer. Unfortunate you've not had a good time, but I'd say reach out to the again and see what can be done to get the project sorted out. I don't know them myself, but I would highly doubt they are incapable or dodgy designers / developers. 

I've seen many cases where there are borderline fake reviews and cases where customers simply jump to conclusions without knowing the facts when leaving negative reviews. 

For design experts I've seen a few fakers too.

(wow, looks like a got a little rambly there!)

I jump on these forums to help and share some insights. Not looking to be hired, and not looking for work.
Don't hand out staff invites or give admin password to forum members unless absolutely needed. In most cases the help you need can be handled without that.
★ http://freakdesign.com.au ★
Jason_Gallaughe
Shopify Staff
2 0 0

Some really, really well-articulated feedback here, everyone. I appreciate the time spent with these responses.

I am the Product Manager now working with the Partners/Experts program, and I want to reinforce Dan's comments around how seriously this feedback is taken. I'm watching all discussions like this very closely, and any specific and potentially actionable information is invaluable.

Again, thank you and please keep the suggestions and perspective on this topic coming.

Product Manager // Shopify Experts and Partners
K-9_Solutions_I
Tourist
6 0 8

I appreciate the viewpoint you offer from the developer side.  It has many valid points.  As for trying to work it out with Zimidi, I did try - repeatedly - they were non-responsive and then just flat bailed.

If a designer is third party and not directly contracted with the client, then there should be no review of that service.  The review should be between the two parties that contracted to work together.

I still feel that if Shopify has an expert on the shopify site as an expert, from a client perspective Shopify is tacitly endorsing the expert.  As such, Shopify should be the gatekeeper of reviews, not the expert and not the buyer.  I agree there is no perfect system, but this setup reeks of bias.

I would not have posted the experience here on the forum, but within the system there was no other recourse available for me to review them and hopefully advise other purchasers that there could be a downside to hiring this expert.  I have requested some type of override from Shopify Support and have had no contact outside this forum except an automated service ticket generation.

I now wonder before I hire the next expert as a condition of hiring they send me a review link upon contract agreement?

I am hopeful that this truly is generating some conversation into changing the review system in Shopify.  As a buyer of Shopify apps and services, I think this is very important.  I think other buyers will agree.

Jason
Shopify Expert
10438 168 2081

I now wonder before I hire the next expert as a condition of hiring they send me a review link upon contract agreement?

Interesting idea, but you can retract a review request (for pending items) so don't rely on that always being active.

I jump on these forums to help and share some insights. Not looking to be hired, and not looking for work.
Don't hand out staff invites or give admin password to forum members unless absolutely needed. In most cases the help you need can be handled without that.
★ http://freakdesign.com.au ★