Marketers are always on the lookout for new tools and strategies to improve their campaigns, especially when it comes to the ever changeable world of social media. Many are attending Social Shake Up 15 (9-10 June in Atlanta, Georgia) to find inspiration in the variety of workshops and lectures on social media presented by some of the most accomplished experts in the industry.
Last week, popular ice creamery Gelato Messina won praise on social media for its response to an angry online reviewer who called one of its employee’s racist and derogatory names. In a review titled “Worst Customer Service”, posted on Urbanspoon for the Gelato Messina store in Parramatta in Sydney, a “diner from Sydney” claimed they received “unpleasant” and “rude service” in February. Social media soon exploded with praise for the way Gelato Messina handled the complaint. Not only did they still respond to the complaint, they did not back down on their own values and tolerate the manner in which the diner chose to express themselves. Raising the question: what is the right etiquette when responding to negative feedback on social media?
Studies of popular travel and review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp indicate that between 10-20% of all reviews are negative. Anecdotally, that seems to be a pretty reasonable percentage of customers who will not be happy with a product or service. So, doesn’t it stand to reason that a business that gets consistent reviews online that are 80-90% positive is a solid (and typical) business? Should they be “penalized” for negative reviews? In fact, isn’t a business that has only positive reviews likely less authentic than one that has 2 negative reviews out of 10?
Nobody is perfect, and that saying goes for businesses too. Sometimes there is just going to be unhappy people, people that like to complain, or people that just don’t believe your product or service lives up to their standards, and that’s the reality of it. So when you receive a negative comment or review online, whether on social media or on a platform like Yelp, what do you do?
Anyone running a business will occasionally come up against difficult situations that need handling. Often these situation can be resolved, when handled with a strong customer service-relationship mindset, in a way that strengthens the business-customer bond. And occasionally, people (and customers) can be nasty. But most people, when treated right (and sometimes when not treated right), aren't!
e-Marketer recently reported on a November 2014 study by YouGov which says the top reason (at 62%) US Internet users post reviews is to help others make good purchasing decisions. Another said they thought it’s “polite” to provide feedback, and a quarter or so were split between making sure the word gets out about good businesses out there and their own positive experiences.
Online reviews from sites such as Google and Yelp are really focused on the consumer – they want (actually they NEED) consumer involvement/engagement for their revenue model to work. It really doesn’t matter as much how many businesses are engaged as long as users are interacting.
Yelp has sued Revleap, a Los Angeles based company. Yelp claims it is misleading, in fact scamming, customers by asking them to pay to “guarantee” good reviews on Yelp. They mention that they are “taking a stand to protect business owners” so they don’t fall prey to misleading companies. More specifically, they mention that business owners need to know which companies are “playing by the rules” and which ones are not.
Social media’s direct, interactive communication offers your business a great opportunity to obtain feedback on products and services, allows you to build more personalized relationships and it provides the opportunity to learn more about your client base through your non business postings.