The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
We have recently experienced two very different types of customer feedback at Moss of Bath. The first came in the form of a beautifully handwritten, hand delivered letter which thanked us for the work that we had undertaken for the customer. In particular it praised the team of installers for their expertise, courteous manner and for the grateful fact that they had left the property clean and tidy at the end of the job.
Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, thankfully this isn't a rare occurrence at Moss of Bath and we are proud to receive regular letters, e.mails and telephone calls of thanks and praise for the staff and as a company Moss of Bath strives for zero complaints and will always aim to exceed our customer's expectations.
The second 'feedback' experience was something that was brought to my attention by a fellow Bath independent retailer and it was a negative review which had been posted on an internet review site.
Now, I recognise that the internet is a huge 'marketplace' and it may not be possible to avoid the occasional negative comment. Due to the growth of social media, customer service and PR are inextricably linked and customers are increasingly broadcasting their experiences on-line.
However, this particular review raised our suspicions as the author (they used a pseudonym) had submitted a further 13 reviews against other small independent businesses in the local area. All had been poorly written (often a sign of a fake review) in the same tone and all were casting a shadow over the reputation of the business. Incredibly they had all been submitted on the same day too.
Upon further investigation and having spoken to some of the other business owners, the timing strongly suggested that an aggrieved salesperson may have been responsible for the reviews.
Alternatively it is quite possible that the reviewer had indeed visited each of the 14 businesses that week and had the great misfortune to experience a lot of poor customer service. What a week that must have been.
Moss of Bath flagged the review as inappropriate as soon as we could and it is now being investigated by Google along with the other 13 companies affected.
Obviously all review sites are protected by free speech laws and are not obligated to delete any opinion or review - even if it is likely to be untrue or unfounded - very frustrating especially as the comments will remain on-line.
Coincidentally this week the Advertising Standards Authority has announced that it is to look into claims that some of TripAdvisor's reviewers are deliberately and falsely defaming businesses. It is claimed that rival businesses may have posted malicious reviews designed to discourage consumers.
According to Chris Emmins, co-founder of 'reputation management company' KwikChex.com, as many as five million of the most current reviews on the TripAdvisor website could be fake.
In an interview for TravelMail, Mr Emmins said, "It is the smaller businesses that suffer the most, they cannot defend themselves against these negative and often defamatory reviews."
I couldn't agree more!