Welcoming Yelp to Australia
Since less and less people trust company’s advertising campaign, there is a major shift towards peer reviews, for almost everything we buy. From seller ratings on eBay and Amazon, (I won’t even consider buying from a seller with less than 95% customer satisfaction, would you?), to reviews on location based applications such as Foursqaure, GoWalla, and websites like TripAdvisor – we now rely on what clients say before we make a buying decision.
What does this mean to us as businesses? If consumers are rating us for our service, and other consumers base their buying decisions on their peer’s reviews, I think the answer here is quite obvious, but there are 3 components to it.
1. Provide excellent service. To ALL customers. Good is not good enough – the competition is fierce, and there is very little tolerance now (because the choices are many). The consumer market is, on the other hand, not growing that much – so every client is very important to get, and more important – to keep!
2. Be aware of what people think about you. If your customers are rating you (and your competition), wouldn’t you like to know what they think (and say) about you? Are you really providing the service you think you do? This message works for a small business owner, often trying his best to juggle his different hats in the business, trying not to “drop the ball”. However, it is most important to larger businesses and corporates, where the customer-facing staff are executing top level management policies – are they executing it like it was meant to be?
3. If it is broken – FIX IT! you may have burnt a few customers to date, with mediocre service, and made a few mistakes… Once you realise what people are saying about you (see point 2 above), you can address the problem, and fix it. You can also go the extra mile, and offer some sort of compensation to the disgruntled customer (un suspecting, of course – they don’t expect you, in most cases, to be tuned in to their criticism), and make them an advocate for your business.
In many cases, and on many sites, you can “claim your venue” – declare an establishment as your own, and manage it, add promotions and special deals, reward loyalty and much more.