Social media has been the biggest customer service game-changer in recent memory. Now, anyone can get on a computer and share their feelings, both good and bad (but it’s usually because it’s bad). Who cares? If you’re a business, you should. Depending on who that person is, that information can influence a lot of people and your (probably no longer) potential customers. How about a Google search? When you’re looking up new information about a restaurant, a retailer, a product, etc., you do a search on the #1 search engine. What if a bunch of those negative reviews came up? You can bet it’ll impact whether a customer walks through your door.

Here’s the thing though. Bad customer service happens. It just does. Percentage wise, you can’t bat a 1000 when it comes to making your customers happy. It’s what you do in response to those criticisms that will build your brand and customer relationships.

I was cruising UrbanSpoon recently, a website dedicated to crowdsourcing business reviews. The site weighs the positive vs. negative comments and gives a business a score out of a 100. For giggles, I thought I’d look at four of the profiles in my own backyard, Victoria, B.C., where the site boasts 310 restaurants reviewed in the greater municipality, and 325 in the downtown core.

Oregano’s Pizza – Shelbourne (Score: 92, Likes: 58)

Tartan Toque (Score: 86, Likes: 74) –

Bubby Rose’s Bakery and Cafe (Score: 66, Likes: 136) –

Moka House – Cook Street (Score: 51, Likes: 59) –

Looking at this small sample of restaurants, from “best” to “not so best”, a few things get pretty obvious.

  • Few businesses respond to comments. I don’t know if that they aren’t aware of them or they don’t care, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of effort on display. Most responded to one or two but only to good comments. The one that seemed to “get it” was Tartan Toque. They made a point of responding to the comments, both negative and positive.
Screenshot 2013 03 12 9 00 PM 1024x785 UrbanSpoon: When Talking Back is a Good Thing

Photo Credit: UrbanSpoon

  • A simple action like “LIKE”ing something has less of an impact than a written testimonial. Though Bubby Rose has much more “LIKES” than others with higher scores, the impression from reading their entry is how bad the service is. People that take the time to share their thoughts are weighted much more than those that simply push a button…as it should be.
  • Actions speak louder than pictures. On the profiles, Moka House and Bubby Rose have a good display of what their establishments and products look like. Oregano’s Pizza has a terrible picture of a half eaten pizza in a box while Tartan Toque has no visuals at all. But what are people going to remember when they go to the site and make their decisions around? What people said about what they experienced.  
Screenshot 2013 03 12 9 12 PM 300x240 UrbanSpoon: When Talking Back is a Good Thing

A slice from Oregano’s Pizza. Photo Credit: UrbanSpoon

Screenshot 2013 03 12 9 12 PM 2 UrbanSpoon: When Talking Back is a Good Thing

Moka House Photo Buffet. Photo Credit: UrbanSpoon

What’s wrong with turning a hater into a lover? Websites should be aware of the service they provide and address it, even if it’s long after the customer has left the building. People make choices based on what they Google and read from their peers and friends; shouldn’t you be part of that conversation? Where ever they are, so should you be.

Like that? Check these:

  • http://www.salesportal.com/ SalesPortal

    “What’s wrong with turning a hater into a lover?”

    If you can resolve a situation that frustrated your customers you can turn an angry customer into a brand advocate. People remember great customer service and are much more likely to do business with a company that went out of their way (even if it’s not that far) to make amends. People are very forgiving when you admit your mistake!

  • http://twitter.com/RussLoL Russel Lolacher

    Thanks SalesPortal for the comment. Glad you liked my quote. :)
    People remember bad customer service just as much as good, so why not make their last experience with your business…whether in person or online….be as positive as possible?