The era of the digital food critic

You’re planning to go out for dinner, you want to try somewhere new, so you hop onto Urbanspoon and make your judgement based on the customer reviews.

It’s a regular habit and as Khoury pointed out in her post, businesses are finding their products and services challenged by negative online opinion.

 

Negative review on Urbanspoon

Negative review of Chapel St’s Fonda restaurant on Urbanspoon

Negative food review on Urbanspoon

Negative review of Melbourne restaurant Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

 

The emergence of user review sites such as Urbanspoon and Yelp serve as innovative tools. Businesses should understand and take advantage of this tool to increase their sales and traffic.

According to David Legget from UX (a publication dedicated to making the web a better place) reviews create conversation. They create a silent dialogue between the customer and the business. Businesses and their PR representatives need to be equipped with the skills to engage in this conversation.

Kate Conroy a product specialist at Google Australia wrote an article on Mumbrella on how to handle online customer reviews. Businesses need to stop fearing negative feedback and channel that energy into exercising professional constructive responses. Conroy asserts that this can be done by responding publicly  in a calm, professional way, apologising and explaining how you fixed or will fix the problem in question. She also emphasises the importance of responding to positive reviews as well, as this strengthens the rapport between a businesses and its consumers.

A business even uses humour to make the most and put a spin on a negative user review

Businesses can even use humour to make the most and put a spin on a negative user reviews

According to an article published on Gartner – the worlds leading information and technology research company – 10 to 15% of social media reviews will be fake and paid for by companies.

Alison Eveleigh, a solicitor and author of this relevant article on Mumbrella, cannot stress enough how important it is for businesses to not give in to the temptation of deliberately posting false reviews or paying for positive ones. Not only will this jeopardise integrity, ethical business practice and transparency it is illegal as confirmed by the ACCC. The ACCC guidelines are here and the implemented legislations here.

Khoury touches on the argument that more should be done to monitor these online platforms. It is therefore worth exploring services such as Power Review that can help businesses monitor and screen customer content to ensure accuracy, fairness, authenticity and brand protection.

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