It’s f inally dawned on me why so many hyperlocal businesses hate Yelp and are so afraid of review sites in general. There was massive backlash against the new site Peeple , which was originally marketed as a “Yelp for individuals."
A recent article in Street Fight highlighted how the hotel industry is using feedback from review sites to invest in improvements in their establishments and offerings. Notably, in some cases, widespread changes were made in policy or offerings based on what people said on review sites. The most interesting nugget was that it wasn’t just the feedback of their own hotel that was acted upon, but reviews given to other hotels that were deemed helpful in making strategic growth decisions.
For most small business owners, a large portion of their new business comes from word- of- mouth. Many of these business owners don’t ask for or promote online reviews or feedback - t he typical theory is that a bad review will impact them negatively, so they would rather have no reviews than risk even one negative comment .
Local businesses should strive to portray an authentic view of their business. This includes making sure their website has some information about the owners and staff, and also making sure they are getting customers talking about them online and giving them feedback. It’s great for their business to learn from customers, and it’s also great for their Local SEO. But it needs to be authentic in order to be effective.
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.