Hotel charges guests $500 for bad Yelp reviews
In a recent article by VentureBeat, a hotel in New York attempted to bribe or threaten their customers with a $500 fee for every negative review posted on any internet site. Ummm, what? This goes against the very essence of social media: free speech. Social media allows for a two-way communication between brand and customer. If you look at the hotel’s Yelp page, it has quite a bundle of negative reviews. Mostly due to dog feces everywhere and overcharging hotel guests up to $1000 or more! The hotel failed to utilize social media in their favor. They tried to bully their customers from posting negative reviews rather than listening to their customer’s complaints and offering a solution to build loyalty. Business owners need to have thick skin because there will be people who dislike your brand– but, there will also be those who like, or even, love your brand! However, your social media presence should have an overall positive and well-liked image. The best way to do that is to acknowledge a customer and present a solution that suits the customer’s needs, which will benefit your business because you just got yourself a loyal and happy customer!
They tried to bully their customers from posting negative reviews rather than listening to their customer’s complaints and offering a solution to build loyalty.
With that said, here are a list of things not to do on social media.
- DO NOT ignore your customer– unless they’re a troll. Sounds like a simple and quick solution? Well, no, that’s not how the world works, fellas. Think about it… as you are scrolling through any site and find testimonials or reviews that are unbecoming, it may cause you to wonder if perhaps the comment is indisputable as the company doesn’t chime in to reclaim their reputation. Secondly, it may cause someone to think, “Do they care about this consumer or is it just profit-over-people? Do they let the weight of their positive reviews outweigh and subsequently override their negative ones? Deleting a customer’s post is only going to infuriate the customer and you’ll most likely end up losing their business. However, there are spam trolls, users who intentionally attempt to anger and bully others online, that may come across your social media pages. You can delete and ban those users from your pages. The best response is to have a genuine, non-generic response back that gives them a call-to-action where they can reach someone directly for conversation and compromise/credit. For example: We understand …. was not up to your standards. We’d like to understand your experience better and come to an agreement that satisfies all involved. Please contact email@example.com directly.
- DO NOT blame or disrespect your customer. Obviously, it goes without saying that “social” media is all about expressing and sharing socially our unique experiences and perceptions. With that said, social shaming should be kept at bay. When a customer leaves a complaint about services, they are spending time – likely after spending their money as well – to express where they felt the exchange of goods and services wasn’t warranted as equivalent or fair for what they gave in the transaction. Blaming or disputing on social media can appear to be not only a black-and-blue battle between you and a customer, but also a black-and-white e-trail that other potential consumers can see and ultimately decide not to embark on. What works well is acknowledging their response to services rendered, whether there is truth or not in their claim, and then forwarding them to someone who can dive deeper into the circumstances. Without admitting guilt yourself, you can certainly share a timely response that shows you are willing to work with your customer, but not play the blame game across the internet. Example: “We understand you are …
- DO NOT take it personally. Take it professionally. Respond from either a neutral stance or seek an objective mentor’s suggestion for response. Of course, you are passionate about the line of work you are in and the services you offer as you have chosen to embark on making a living pursuing such. To be challenged may internalize quickly as “not good enough” which can hurt our pride. Leave pride out of it if possible and bring COMPASSION in. If you are truly passionate about what you do and those who help you co-create your dream (your customers) respond back from that emotional space. This way, your response gives value to their opinion. What’s even better, is if you can respond in a humorous, lighthearted manner such as JCPenny did in the example below.
- DO NOT bribe or threaten your customers for positive or negative reviews online. That’s just downright shady. Additionally, this will most likely get your account suspended or terminated from the outlet.
Businesses such as this need to wake up and realize that the success of their business ultimately depends on the customer. See negative reviews or comments as an opportunity to save your brand’s reputation and build a rapport with on-lookers, as well as, increase higher ratios of retention with the customers you respect through corrective attempts. This is what makes social media such a long term investment. It takes time to build trust with your customers. In the long run, social media pays off when you know how to optimize its resources and capabilities.
Written by StevieAnne Petitt, branding strategist, and Alyssa Guzman, social media manager.