Yet another small business has reached the national headlines for suing a customer who gave them negative reviews on Yelp.
Few things surprise us any more about how animated business owners get towards Yelp, Trip Advisor and the myriad of other review websites. Or indeed why some business owners still feel it necessary to air their dirty laundry as regards their customer’s experience in public because every single time I’ve seen them sue a customer or go public in response this is what happens - the business owners review site explodes with bad reviews from every Troll on the planet. However well monitored a review website tells you it is, by virtue of the fact that is open to anyone to write on it, it is hopelessly unsecure as regards you knowing what is feedback from a genuine customer and who is frankly being disingenuous. And therefore it is hopelessly dumb to pay much more than passing notice to what people are saying.
These review websites tend to attract the people who will give you one star or five stars. There isn’t much in between and frankly the people giving you one star will never return while the people giving you five stars love what you do so much that you should be spending all your time rewarding them for their feedback in the limited window of opportunity that you have while they are in your business and happy to spend more money with you. The people who can really make a marginal difference to your business are those who would give you a 2,3, or 4 star review – but have you noticed, they are rarely to be seen on review websites. Why? Because although they’d be happy to give you some constructive feedback on the little things you might tweak to improve their future experience, they’re not sufficiently motivated either way to take time out of their busy schedule once they’ve left your business to give you that feedback.
But here’s the one thing in common that 85% of them have – it’s a smart phone and a few moments while they are waiting for their bill to arrive at the table. That’s also the ideal moment for you to engage with them. They’ve got time, they’re full of fresh ideas on the experience they’ve just had (well everyone will have just one small idea to help you), and you’re still at the center of their universe. What’s more is that research shows that brands, which actively engage with their customers are more likely to see those customers again … soon!
Those same brands are often the ones who use incentives to entice first time customers through their doors and worry about what is happening on review websites. The silent majority of your existing customers (who don’t go on Yelp, etc) are actually likely to be eight times more profitable than first time customers. So focus your energies on them, use SurveyMe, get their real-time feedback and thank them with a nice offer for when they return or something they can use now. They’ll love you for listening in the first place, they’ll be only too happy to help you, and what’s more they’ll be thrilled that you rewarded them. Don’t take my word for it, try it today yourself for free.