Online reviews for businesses of all types have been a controversial topic in recent years. Many sites like Yelp are expressly designed to give customers the voice that they have not had in previous years. For example, if a customer has a great experience with your limo business they can find your business profile on Yelp and post about their experienced in detail. Anyone who views that page will be able to see the positive review, which can in turn lead to more business. However, the reverse is also true. A not so old saying states “the Internet isn’t written in pencil, it’s written in ink.” That is very true of negative online reviews in general: they aren’t just there temporarily. In the vast majority of all cases they’re there permanently.
The controversy surrounding negative online reviews of limo businesses deals with the fact that many people don’t see them as legitimate (including myself). Because anyone can post a negative review online and and not be required to provide any proof of identification. In order to protect those with legitimate grievances from retaliation, a negative review could easily be written by someone with an ax to grind. A customer may have endured a minor annoyance with your company and then blew it dramatically out of proportion grossly exaggerating online. Worse yet, maybe a competitor is trying to improve their own image by posting negative reviews about your company on popular review sites. Companies like eBay have taken steps to cut down on these type of practice by essentially doing away with negative feedback altogether. Many people in professional industries would like to see Yelp follow suit.
The issue with censoring or forbidding negative reviews online is that they represent a legitimate opportunity not just for your business, but for businesses of all types. The reader needs to be able to discern what a reviewer is trying to express in order to get the most out of it. When a customer posts a positive online review, it does not have much value beyond making you as a business owner or employee feel good. It is always ideal to know that a customer left your limo business happier than they were when they arrived. However, when a customer posts a negative review, it is an opportunity for a learning experience for the company. Find out why the situation in question occurred, address it and make sure that it does not happen again.
Negative reviews can also play an important role in marketing for your limo business. If you see that a customer had a legitimate negative experience, you can take the opportunity to correct the issue as quickly as possible. If the customer calls out your company publicly about that negative experience on either Twitter or Facebook always remember that every visitor to your page is going to be able to see that interaction. Instead of firing back or trying to devalue their opinion in an attempt to save face, do everything you can do publicly correct the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. Not only will the customer be happy because their grievance have been addressed, but all other visitors to the page will get a first hand display of how you treat your customers.
Negative experiences are going to happen with businesses of all types. No business is perfect and the sooner you start accepting that as a business owner the sooner you’ll be able to start learning from what mistakes you make.
Posted on Apr 14 2014
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