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.
There are many differences between large chains and hyperlocal businesses, but this article highlights some excellent ideas that hyperlocals should strongly consider. Are you using online reviews as a way to improve your business? We have suggested several strong examples of how online feedback can benefit your business:
- If you run a retail shop that hires teenagers - You can't be in your store 24×7, and sometimes you are leaving things to a teenager. If you are getting consistent feedback online, you can see if there are any patterns of behavior that you can use for coaching of your young staff.
- If you are in a service business - Contractors may not want to believe this, but they are in the service business in more ways than one! Not only are you offering a service to your customers, but customer service is critical - your customer certainly wants you to do a fantastic job, but they also want to think that they are being listened to and respected. I know too many contractors who do great work but struggle to get customers to say good things about them, and it's a simple fix by improving interaction skills.
- If you have a business with significant local competition - Online feedback is a great way to learn the sentiment of the local community. Similar to what the hotel industry is doing, you can see what people say/think about your competitors and what things they offer that make a difference.
Note that the study doesn't talk about how a 1-star increase in your reviews generates additional business, or tactics to get more reviews. It's simply a pragmatic use of taking what people are saying about you and putting it to good use within your business. There are many more than these three areas where online feedback can be put to get use, beyond the obvious benefit of having people talk about you online. Look for future blog posts, and, in the meantime, feel free to offer some more benefits in the comments.