Yelp Can Help, But Oy Can It Destroy!
I received a lovely response to a Trip Advisor posting I left for the Phoenix Inn in Lake Oswego, OR (look it up under “The Jamerican”). The manager was delighted with my comments and took the time to write me a thank you note.
What struck me about this hotel that had every right to be ordinary and boring was the attitude of every employee there. Regardless of whether they checked you in, checked you out, cleaned your room or made you breakfast, it was clear that they genuinely cared about their jobs and, by extension, their guests.
It was a pleasure to write them a favorable review.
My hope is that the next traveler looking to decide on a hotel in that hotel-rich area reads my words and makes the decision to patronize Molly Lechner’s place.
Online reviews—if you haven’t figured this out already—can make or break you. One favorable comment has the potential to tip the scales in your direction. One negative comment, however, can take you down in ways you cannot see and might never know about.
Angie’s List, Yelp, and other business-related review sites have power that you need to manage. Frequently. By responding to negative postings, you demonstrate professionalism. And like Molly, thanking customers for their kind words shows that you are on your game and are paying attention.
It is not uncommon for a business to be attacked by a sour ex-employee or even a competitor. You can petition the Websites to validate the member’s existence and have their postings removed (however, know that if one goes, they often all go...even the legitimate good ones). And while you cannot review yourself, you can encourage clients to share their positive experiences online.
The point is to be aware of the power of the written word, especially when expressed by a customer. Upwards of 90 percent of us say they do online research prior to making a purchase decision. Clearly, people are paying attention.