The Internet has come a long way as far as online reviews are concerned. Commenting, in general, has become a whole new world of insanity. With this being said, how should we handle reviews as a company?
There are two schools of thought on this and I know I have my opinions on the process. We all want our products or organization to be liked, but to what end? One group of thinkers would tell you that every negative comment should be given top priority and that you should bend over backward to please them. However, others would say that all comments are useful for training but you need to consider the source and decide what really may not be a valid point from the reviewer.
For instance, a review was placed on Trip Advisor for a particular restaurant in Branson, Missouri. I have worked with this restaurant extensively. I know the menu and the recipes and what they have in inventory. I found something fishy with this review. So, the review sounds something like this:
I ate here this weekend and I was very disappointed with my Caesar salad. The lettuce was obviously not romaine as they stated. This salad was full of Iceberg lettuce. I mean what kind of restaurant would serve this to a guest?
Well, the emails hit the manager from corporate and they were frustrated about the whole thing. This restaurant operates under the school of thought that you should open the safe and give away gift cards or free meals or whatever is necessary to fix it. The only strange thing was, they have never had Iceberg lettuce in the restaurant. It would be virtually impossible to have placed Iceberg in the bowl.
I believe our society has lost the concept of having pride in their product and the way they serve it. I personally believe that the early campaign from Burger King that lived by the tagline “Have it your way” was the beginning of the era of prostituting ourselves to the guest to give them anything they wanted. I will discuss this in another article, but for now, let’s get back to the topic.
I don’t see them benefiting from calling this guest out; however, I also don’t see where “Opening the Safe” to this guest is appropriate either. My suggestion would be to place a general statement on the review that looked something like this:
Thank you for your feedback. We try to do the best on any given day and we understand we didn’t hit that mark here. We will use this remark as a training tool for future staff training. Again thank you, and we hope to see you again.
Did you admit to doing anything wrong? Nope. He may not have liked his salad but you also know there was no way in any conceivable world that there was Iceberg in that dish. The guest feels like they were heard and people around think you’re very nice. I believe that giving stuff away in a situation like this is going to create an unhealthy pattern and takes dollars away from the bottom line. In today’s society, with Facebook adding reviews, you are now placed in situations where if your conversation is extensive your likelihood of being seen is greater, and it will climb to the top of your review page. Creating a lengthy argument is likely to become very noticable. Like I mentioned in a previous article it is important to remain “Nice”.
Instead of giving into the rants of the continually unhappy, what about focusing your attention on those that are raving about your product in the review. Make sure you thank those people that leave the good reviews. Perhaps try to engage them and ask them what it was they liked. Create a conversation. In the Facebook platform, a conversation gets noticed and is moved up in the system. This also allows people to realize that it’s not the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. You have just turned your review page into something positive. The world could use more of that!
We live in a world full of people that are looking for a reason to vent their outrage. My recommendation is don’t give them the opportunity. It’s not always that easy, but I am also always happy to discuss possible solutions to problems. The online world has become tricky. It’s nice to have a fresh opinion every now and then. That’s what I do.
I would love to hear your stories; I have provided a comment section for just that reason. I am also happy to talk about how I could help you solve the customer service problems that occur on the Internet or in person. Hunt me down here or on Facebook or Linkedin. I like doing what I do, and I want you to be happy in your position as well.
Have a great day!