Testimonials and recommendations: how important are they?


When looking for a tutor it is often a good idea to ask friends and family if they have any experience of tutors and get their feedback and recommendations.

Another option is to go on social media and ask there if anyone has used a tutor that they can recommend.

If tutors have Facebook pages or Google accounts, they may have received reviews on there.

You may also want to have a look at these. However, be aware that some people don’t seek out feedback whilst others may actively request it.

Although this is another profession, I feel the story is relevant.

Biased recommendations


My mum recently had a plumber round to fix her shower. He was here 20 minutes early and left after 35 minutes stating she needed an electrician rather than a plumber. She was charged £90 for an hour’s “work”.

He later sent an email with the opportunity to leave feedback on 6 different sites. On my mum’s behalf I went onto one of the sites to leave feedback, I was given the opportunity to answer 3 or 4 questions based on cleanliness, punctuality, etc. I stated that he had arrived early and left within 15 minutes of the time he was due to arrive.

I scored him 3 out of 5.

Because I offered low feedback, I had an automated email back saying it wouldn’t be posted straight away and someone would be in touch. Mum received a phone call a day or 2 later from the company and by the end of the conversation, she had retracted the feedback, even though nothing had changed, and she had been charged £90 to be told it was a job for an electrician.

The point is, that although she wasn’t happy with the work, the feedback wasn’t left.

Anyone looking at his feedback would only see the positive feedback which was allowed through the filter system.

Some people often also worry that the available feedback has been given by friends and family and isn’t genuine.

Remember that your expectations may be different to that of someone else. Even if someone does come as highly recommended, get in touch.

Ask your own questions and draw your own opinions.

Receiving negative recommendations and feedback.

A few years ago, I was left negative feedback on a website I was advertising on at the time. The feedback stated that she had been listening to a conversation her daughter and I had been having and was worried that I was just giving her daughter the answers.

In my response I stated I was sorry if this was the conclusion she had come to. I stated that we had started to go through something, and her daughter had got the first few wrong.

Rather than asking her to redo them, I had been going through them with her explaining where she had gone wrong. I had felt this was a beneficial approach.

I had worried at the time that this negative feedback would affect people’s opinion of me, but in fact in the following weeks I was inundated with requests, maybe it had been my response and explanation.

Maybe it was just a coincidence or maybe people were willing to acknowledge that we are all different and we are all looking for different approaches and this approach would be suitable for their child even if the mum of the girl I had been working with had not been happy.

A lot of tutors will offer to give you a call or come and meet you so you can have a chat and get to know them better before you sign up to anything. They may share with you the resources that they use, their experience, their logic and reasoning.

For a lot of people, a gut feeling goes a long way. It will out-weigh any review or recommendation from a stranger. It is only by meeting people that you can draw these conclusions.

I’m sorry if this post comes across as being cynical. I just want you to be aware that it is always a good idea to ask for feedback from others but also use your own judgement: what is it you are looking for?

Follow your gut feeling and if possible meet the tutor so that you can get to know them better for yourself.

If you want an impartial chat, please do get in touch:

[email protected]

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