I am not a big ‘social media’ person. At least I don’t think I am. Like with many of these sorts of things, my opinion is – at best – only subjective. I know how little (or much) I use social media. I see how much more others apparently use the various options. I deduce that I am at the low end of the scale. Rightly or wrongly.
That having been said, I use LinkedIn regularly and I do use WordPress at least once a week. There are though…many other forms of social media in which I don’t participate. Hence my starting assumption.
I do have one other social media habit that I have to admit to – I am an avid reader and submitter for TripAdvisor. I couldn’t say if I am ‘big’ in TripAdvisor, but I can say that I read it a great deal and I submit as often as I can on meals, hotels, sights etc.
I started on TripAdvisor years ago. We were on a family day out and we chose where to eat based on that classic tactic of reading the menu outside the restaurant. We had an unhappy time inside. The food was poor, service was off hand, price was high and enjoyment was low.
I registered on TripAdvisor there and then because I wanted to record my rating. And as soon as I did, I read the other reviews, the overall rating and immediately realised that ours was not a unique experience.
Since that day I have used TripAdvisor to help select restaurants, hotels and even sightseeing. I sometime read the specific reviews (normally the most recent) but always look at the overall rating.
And yes, I accept this is probably ‘social media’. Hotels and restaurants can’t do anything about the individual scores other than focus on offering the best service and experience they can offer, based on the best people they can recruit working in best facilities and with best capabilities….and then they need to have faith that good things will happen and good reviews will come.
Over the years my reviews have tended to be positive. Someone has to go a long way for me to rate below a score of three out of five (three is defined as ‘average’). And indeed I can remember each of the handful of occasions when I did go for a two or a one. There are not many.
An interesting aspect of TripAdvisor is that the owners of the businesses have a ‘right of reply’. More often than not, public replies are well phrased, apologetic and committed to improve. Occasionally though, they can be surprisingly negative about the customer, how they behaved, what they said…in effect how the customer was the cause of the situation.
I received a ‘personal reply’ last week in response to an ‘average’ restaurant review I had submitted. In short I am pretty sure the reply was me being told off for writing what seemed to be a generally positive review, but giving an ‘average’ assessment. I was surprised.
I was surprised partly because I thought my review was fair and balanced. But more so I was surprised by the restaurant owner’s approach which to complain to me – and to criticise me – about my review.
Customer reviews in any business are just that – customer reviews. We celebrate them when they promote us, we are disappointed when they are neutral and we are worried when they are detractors. But they are still fundamentally feedback from a customer…a customer’s opinion based on their experience.
Our only option is to accept, to learn and to improve…