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5 Star or 1 Star. How can a product be both?

Written By: 
Marc Blitstein / President & CEO

The vast majority of our products consistently earn the very best reviews online (typically 4 or 5 star). But every now and then a normally highly rated product earns a low star rating. We also produce a handful of products that consistently receive reviews at both ends of the spectrum.

How can that be?

There are a few explanations for inconsistent reviews. In order of reverse “frequency”, here’s what our research has found:

Truly defective product

We pride ourselves on, among other things, our Quality Control processes. As an ISO certified mfg, we go to great lengths to ensure our products meet or exceed global performance and durability standards. But we aren’t infallible and every now and then a product leaves our facility that doesn’t perform as it should. These nonconforming products deserve the poor review they earn. That being said, we back our products with the industry’s most comprehensive warranties and we will always make it right if given the chance. Unfortunately, many online reviewers post a bad review then fail to reply to our offer to correct the deficiency. Regrettably, there’s not much we can do if the customer ignores our requests to make it right.

Service review

The leading online marketplace – Amazon – allows buyers to post reviews in two places – on the product page and on the merchant page. Product reviews are supposed to be limited to reviews on the product’s performance while merchant reviews are supposed to be limited to reviews of the purchase experience. Unfortunately, many consumers don’t realize that and post bad reviews of the merchant performance on the product page. While Amazon and other marketplaces claim they will correct mistakes like this, our experience is to the contrary. Its virtually impossible to get an incorrectly posted review removed. We’ve seen this on some of our Adscopes, Diagnostix and Prosphyg aneroids sphygs.

Counterfeit product

We have found that some of the worst reviews were for counterfeits sold by merchants on our pages. Like a misplaced service review, we have struggled to get Amazon to clear bad reviews of proven counterfeits. We’ve seen this extensively on our tuning forks, Medicut shears, and neurological hammers.

Incorrect Use of product

Surprisingly, consumers often won’t take the time to learn how to use our products correctly. Incorrect use can lead to suboptimal performance – particularly with our line of Adscopes. These scopes are individually tested on an acoustic fixture during manufacture so we are confident that virtually ANY performance issue is caused by misuse. A tight acoustic seal is critical to the successful use of any professional scope including our Adscopes. All too often, consumers don’t take the time to learn the proper way to wear them and “fit” them to their unique anatomy. For optimal performance, the headset must be worn with the eartips facing forward, tension and alignment adjusted and properly sized eartips selected. Virtually every bad review of our Adscopes is due to misuse, not a product failure.

Incorrect use/unrealistic expectations

Similarly, we offer a handful of products that people either love or hate. The ones that love them, use them properly and recognize the limitations of the device. The ones that hate them either use them improperly OR have unrealistic expectations or BOTH. The product that most receives the bi-polar reviews is our Adtemp 427 Temple Touch thermometer. The temple touch is a non-invasive human thermometer that measures at the temple in about 6 seconds. It’s a cost effective solution ideal for use on newborns, infants, fidgety children or adults WITH IMPORTANT LIMITATIONS.

These units, while as accurate as an oral or rectal thermometer in the lab, are more prone to measurement error due to user technique or failure to follow directions. The 427 for example, can only be used indoors when the ambient temp is roughly “normal” room temp (between 65 and 75F). Too hot or too cold and the readings will be off. The patient must acclimate to that room temp so if they just came in from outdoors, a few minutes must be allowed for the patient’s skin temp to equalize with room temp. The probe surface must make “solid” contact with the patient’s temple. Not forehead. If held at an oblique angle (that is part of the probe doesn’t touch the skin) reading errors will occur. Users must allow a minute or two between readings to allow the probe surface temp to return to room temp. If readings are taken too soon after use, readings will be skewed. Finally, we generally recommend this as a sort of screening tool. That is, use it to confirm the absence of a fever. IF a fever is detected we recommend follow up readings where possible with a traditional oral/rectal type. This is in fact how our 427 is used in hospitals the world over. It saves time and money for routine screening but if a high fever is detected, less fickle standard thermometers (which we also produce) are utilized. That doesn’t make our 427 thermometer inferior or inaccurate but it does have its limitations. Unfortunately, many customers don’t take the time to read the IFU and are ultimately disappointed with their purchase.

Remember, good or bad, we want to hear from our customers.  And IF the review is less than stellar, we will ALWAYS do our best to make it right!