In a perfect world, negative reviews, opinions and feedback would be delivered directly to the party or parties involved. When a negative review involves a business, it would be great if a customer could complain directly to the boss, or manager, and then the matter would be pacified , and there would be no hurt feelings and the business would be improved and life would go and on and no one would be hurt. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. In today’s world where people can hide behind a computer screen, or an unlisted number, anonymity is readily available and used excessively. It certainly makes it easier to complain, and say something negative, or even untrue. And, let’s face it, people like to complain, and exaggerate when they are wronged. Is it fair? Well, sort of, when it comes to running a business and a customer is mistreated, but what about when the complaint is unwarranted?
Recently, Yelp, a website which posts reviews of businesses and services, was accused of posting fake reviews. According to a Sept. 29 MSN report , a study found that 20 percent of all Yelp reviews are counterfeit and were most like “farmed out to freelance writers from the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe for $1 to $10 a pop.” The MSN report quoted researcher Michael Luca who said, "Organizations are more likely to game the system when they are facing increased competition and when they have poor or less established reputations."
So, what’s not to say the same is being done with your car care business? We’re not saying freelance writers are being hired to bad mouth your business, but what if someone is going online and aggressively slamming your business because they had a bad day? Or because they felt like venting and taking it out on someone else? Or what if your business did accidentally upset a customer and now the review is online for the world to see? What do we do?
First thing’s first: Know your rights. If a review is defamatory or just plain false, file a complaint and flag the review. In fact, Darnell Holloway, Yelp's manager of local business outreach, encourages you do so. Business owners can dispute and reviews and the reviewers are then notified and then reply to the business owner.
If the review remains, consider commenting on it and responding directly to the complaint. If the complaint is somewhat true, then say you appreciate the feedback and the matter has been fixed, etc.
Also, give just as much attention to the positive reviews. Comment on those as well and thank the reviewer for their business and their kind words.
Most importantly, keep a close eye on Yelp and watch it vigorously and use any and all feedback to your advantage.
Until next time,