Never sacrifice feedback for social media ratings

By Robert A. Kobek. RRP, President, CustomerCount

It is very important to note that I am a fan of social media rating services. Like many travelers and diners, when I am looking for an out of town place to stay or maybe a new place to dine I now check the scores on any one of the hundreds of rating sites, the most prominent of which are Yelp! and TripAdvisor .

Well, I have been duped too many times. In my rush to find the 4-5 star ratings (actually, sometimes I will settle for 3) I have actually been led to a few places that somehow must have gamed the system. But, both TripAdvisor and Yelp! have processes in place to make certain that it is very difficult to game the system and they can hurt your reputation if you don’t play by the rules.

Additionally, I am exposed to various organizations that “push” to a social media rating site and completely ignore measuring critical elements in a customer experience. The belief is that lots of ratings is the primary driver. So 1,000 ratings of 2.5 is better than 400 at 4.0? I know, I get it, but sacrificing customer feedback data for online reviews is just not a good practice.

There is one constant that I find is a part of the process for the 4-5 star consumer rated businesses: they all place significant emphasis on customer feedback. There is a paper comment card or a QR code strategically placed throughout the venue or there is the possibility of gathering an email, essentially an online comment card. The really big companies actually survey customer service calls to measure Key Performance Indicators that positively impact ROI and profitability of service. They not only collect feedback, they act upon it by building upon what works and improving those areas that don’t.

If you don’t care why should your customers? They don’t have to come back and if the service you provided was bad enough, you are almost certain to see it in the social media world, without your prompting somewhere, I promise.

Measure to manage is our moniker! It’s very basic, but the fewer the indicators that need attention, the better the ratings. It is as simple as that.

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