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Can you trust customer feedback from TripAdvisor and Yelp?

Posted by Ethan Hawkes on May 24, 2016 10:30:00 AM
Ethan Hawkes
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TripAdvisor and Yelp can cause a huge headache for businesses. At anytime, customers can publicly blast a business, which can cause dips in staff morale and scar your business’ reputation.

Take for example, an award winning high end restaurant in the UK would receive bad reviews from TripAdvisor while the owners were away. Almost every time the owners would have days off, customers feedback would generally be negative.

This caused a lot of tension at weekly staff meetings between the owners and the staff. The staff insisted the operation ran smoothly, while the owners remained suspicious.

The owners decided to sign up for SurveyMe to facilitate their real time feedback.  Using the scale of 1-10 survey they asked customers, at the end of the meal about their satisfaction specifically with their initial greeting and service.

Turns out, on the owner’s days off the customer feedback revealed the meet and greet score was actually higher than when they were present. The average score for the initial greeting was 9/10 over the survey period.

The problem with TripAdvisor reviews is they aren't real time. The angriest customers are of course the one’s who will continue to be angry long after the visit and remember to write a review a few days after their visit.

Extremely happy customers will also write a review later, but this doesn’t give a voice to the silent majority.

Besides skewed reviews, another problem with TripAdvisor and reviews sites like Yelp is businesses are able to buy fake reviews. This can be the business itself buying positive reviews or buying negative fake reviews to post on a rival’s Yelp page.

Sometimes customer are bribed by business with gift cards to leave positive reviews on a business’ Yelp page. Luckily, Yelp flags these reviews when they are reported, but it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake.

These reviews are meant to be written by honest customers, but a lot of customers don’t trust them. A 2015 study by marketing research company Mintel found nearly 70 percent of Americans seek out others' opinions online before making a purchase, but only 59 percent trust the recommendations.

An estimated £23 million spent a year in the UK is influenced by online reviews according to the Competitions and Market Authority. Multiple negative reviews can be catastrophic to any business.

What’s worse is a federal appeals court ruled it’s legal for companies like Yelp to manipulate review in order to sell advertising on their site. Yelp claims they don’t practice this, but multiple businesses claim they have seen positive reviews disappeared a few days after refusing to buy ads.

Business owners have told us in the past negative Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews have caused them massive headaches. But negative comments can be invaluable to learning how to improve your business.

For every public negative review, according to Lee Resources International, there are 23 other disatisfied customers who remained silent. Wouldn’t it be great to get this negative feedback without the public humiliation?

SurveyMe specializes in real-time feedback, meaning your customers review your business while having the freshest experience in their heads. Instant rewards encourage customers to take the survey at your place of business and with the geo-locating service, you will know if the customer took that survey at home or at your place of business.

Best of all, this feedback would be for your eyes only. This might take the sting out of the negative review a little bit and make it easier for business owners to digest and implement the improvements.

 Download Guide: How To Create An Effective Survey

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