In business, your reputation is everything. What your customers are saying about your brand has the potential to create some powerful traction. It’s no different in 2015 than what is 50 years ago, except for now given the power of social media, what your customers are saying has become a lot more impactful.
It can seem a little scary, especially if you’re operating in the restaurant or hospitality industry. Opening up channels for feedback has the potential for producing negative reviews, but if you’re consistently rocking it out for your customers, those positive reviews can have a huge impact on the future of your brand.
Recently, the journal Electronic Commerce Research and Applications published an article, “Gift or threat? An examination of the voice of the customer: The case of MyStarbucksIdea.com.” In this article they survey the pros and cons of the voice of the customer and the impact of word of mouth. What’s cool is that Starbucks was able to take all of that feedback and innovate by co-creating new experiences that their customers would value most.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for brands to own their social media. By showcasing the best of what your customers are saying about you online, you can control the conversation. More than managing your brand’s reputation, you provide an inclusive forum for your customers to be recognized, heard and valued for their enthusiasm.
We all know that customers are more likely to leave negative reviews on applications like Yelp, Urban Spoon and Open Table than they would via social media. That’s because for most people they want to uphold and reinforce a positive image of themselves within the shared online communities found in their social profiles.
When customers are truly enchanted by their experience, they become your strongest advocates on social media. They post pictures of their food, they rave about your service and encourage all of their friends to give you a try with a personal touch that can’t be replicated otherwise. Everything’s awesome.
It’s like that famous deli scene in When Harry Met Sally. Meg Ryan’s character begins vocalizing an experience that everyone around her pays attention to, so much so that another woman seated nearby says to her server, “I’ll have what she’s having.”