Keyboard warriors

Are today’s businesses at the mercy of keyboard complainers?

Are today’s businesses at the mercy of keyboard complainers?

DAMAGING: Leaving a bad online review can seem like the right thing to do. But business owners say people do not realise how far-reaching and damaging they can be.
Trip Advisor

SHE was asked to breastfeed in the restroom.”

“The portions were not big enough.”

“Thoroughly bad from start to finish, if I could blot that place out of my mind, I would.”

“I was provided with a slab of butter to go with my toast.”

These are comments left online by people after they had a bad experience at one of Gisborne’s hospitality venues.

Their bad experiences lasted a millisecond compared to the longevity of their online reviews typed into Facebook or Tripadvisor.com.

Leaving a bad online review can seem like the right thing to do. But business owners say people do not realise how far-reaching and damaging they can be.

Business owners have started to tackle the issue head on to control damage left in the wake of a bad online review.

Sometimes it can be a personal grievance that spurs someone on to seek revenge by way of a bad review.

Ocean Beach Motor Lodge manager Ruth Walton replies to every review left on TripAdvisor — good or bad.

Two rules

She has two rules when it comes to hospitality.

“Rule one, the customer is always right and rule two, if the customer is wrong . . . go back to rule number one.

“If it is a bad review, I deal with whatever the issue is, defend it if necessary but with the intention of correcting it and certainly learning from it.”

TripAdvisor allows one right of reply per review, which leaves no room for lengthy dialogue.

It is for this reason that Ruth, who has a marketing degree, will not have a Facebook page for the business.

“It can become open slander in a public arena.

“People haven’t thought deeply enough about social media and they suffer the consequences. Even if you email a guest, it can be brought into the public arena.”

Obviously, says Ruth, if you can deal with an issue face-to-face that is 100 percent better than it going online.

“One person will come and tell you that their light bulb is broken and another will post an online review saying they had no power. It’s just people.

“If you have confidence in what you’re selling, which I do, usually there is another reason and you just be as honest and loyal as you can.

“The people you deal with are so diverse and often they might have just had an argument, or the kids might have been a nuisance, so you try to read what is behind the situation.

“Sometimes it is just going back and apologising to them if they are unhappy.”

Diplomacy skills

You have to be very diplomatic, says Ruth.

There’s hot competition in Gisborne to gain good TripAdvisor reviews. But there can be more behind those glowing reports or scathing summaries than we realise.

Fair Go featured TripAdvisor on their programme this year to expose why you should not always trust an online review. They created a fake restaurant, which attracted fake reviews.

It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have a website. TripAdvisor is an online site where anyone in the world, who has an e-mail address, can leave a review of any hotel, motel, cafe or restaurant.

Bronwen Evans is a best-selling author who lives in Wellington and watched the Fair Go programme.

She rarely takes notice of online reviews because she knows:

1. They can be paid for.

2. Someone with a grudge can write an anonymous review.

3. There are “trolls” who write bad reviews just to get a reaction.

“If I get bad service at a restaurant, I tell the owner privately so they can do something about it. I realise reviews can help but only if everyone is participating fairly and I know that does not always happen. I take reviews with a pinch of salt, pardon the pun.”

USSCO restaurant and Flagship cafe co-owner Christine Boyce says it’s nice when people let them know they have had a great experience.

“Because the motivation behind it is kind.

“But I do wonder what outcome people are trying to achieve with negative online posts. If they let us know any issues at the time we always do our best to fix the situation and make sure they leave happy. If they are not comfortable doing that, they can always email us. But after the fact, bad reviews on a public forum only really serve to deter future customers from coming . . . is that what they want? For us to lose customers and go out of business? And for all the people who earn a living from the business to no longer have a job?”

A new Gisborne business faced the wrath recently of a personal grudge. After advertising for staff, they experienced an online backlash from a man who had applied for a job but was not employed.

“He got revenge on Facebook by posting negative comments,” said the owner.

They dealt with the issue head-on and told him the police would be called and he would be trespassed if he did not stop harassing staff and posting inaccurate information on Facebook.

He stopped.

SHE was asked to breastfeed in the restroom.”

“The portions were not big enough.”

“Thoroughly bad from start to finish, if I could blot that place out of my mind, I would.”

“I was provided with a slab of butter to go with my toast.”

These are comments left online by people after they had a bad experience at one of Gisborne’s hospitality venues.

Their bad experiences lasted a millisecond compared to the longevity of their online reviews typed into Facebook or Tripadvisor.com.

Leaving a bad online review can seem like the right thing to do. But business owners say people do not realise how far-reaching and damaging they can be.

Business owners have started to tackle the issue head on to control damage left in the wake of a bad online review.

Sometimes it can be a personal grievance that spurs someone on to seek revenge by way of a bad review.

Ocean Beach Motor Lodge manager Ruth Walton replies to every review left on TripAdvisor — good or bad.

Two rules

She has two rules when it comes to hospitality.

“Rule one, the customer is always right and rule two, if the customer is wrong . . . go back to rule number one.

“If it is a bad review, I deal with whatever the issue is, defend it if necessary but with the intention of correcting it and certainly learning from it.”

TripAdvisor allows one right of reply per review, which leaves no room for lengthy dialogue.

It is for this reason that Ruth, who has a marketing degree, will not have a Facebook page for the business.

“It can become open slander in a public arena.

“People haven’t thought deeply enough about social media and they suffer the consequences. Even if you email a guest, it can be brought into the public arena.”

Obviously, says Ruth, if you can deal with an issue face-to-face that is 100 percent better than it going online.

“One person will come and tell you that their light bulb is broken and another will post an online review saying they had no power. It’s just people.

“If you have confidence in what you’re selling, which I do, usually there is another reason and you just be as honest and loyal as you can.

“The people you deal with are so diverse and often they might have just had an argument, or the kids might have been a nuisance, so you try to read what is behind the situation.

“Sometimes it is just going back and apologising to them if they are unhappy.”

Diplomacy skills

You have to be very diplomatic, says Ruth.

There’s hot competition in Gisborne to gain good TripAdvisor reviews. But there can be more behind those glowing reports or scathing summaries than we realise.

Fair Go featured TripAdvisor on their programme this year to expose why you should not always trust an online review. They created a fake restaurant, which attracted fake reviews.

It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have a website. TripAdvisor is an online site where anyone in the world, who has an e-mail address, can leave a review of any hotel, motel, cafe or restaurant.

Bronwen Evans is a best-selling author who lives in Wellington and watched the Fair Go programme.

She rarely takes notice of online reviews because she knows:

1. They can be paid for.

2. Someone with a grudge can write an anonymous review.

3. There are “trolls” who write bad reviews just to get a reaction.

“If I get bad service at a restaurant, I tell the owner privately so they can do something about it. I realise reviews can help but only if everyone is participating fairly and I know that does not always happen. I take reviews with a pinch of salt, pardon the pun.”

USSCO restaurant and Flagship cafe co-owner Christine Boyce says it’s nice when people let them know they have had a great experience.

“Because the motivation behind it is kind.

“But I do wonder what outcome people are trying to achieve with negative online posts. If they let us know any issues at the time we always do our best to fix the situation and make sure they leave happy. If they are not comfortable doing that, they can always email us. But after the fact, bad reviews on a public forum only really serve to deter future customers from coming . . . is that what they want? For us to lose customers and go out of business? And for all the people who earn a living from the business to no longer have a job?”

A new Gisborne business faced the wrath recently of a personal grudge. After advertising for staff, they experienced an online backlash from a man who had applied for a job but was not employed.

“He got revenge on Facebook by posting negative comments,” said the owner.

They dealt with the issue head-on and told him the police would be called and he would be trespassed if he did not stop harassing staff and posting inaccurate information on Facebook.

He stopped.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you like the new committee structure brought in at Gisborne District Council?

    See also: Committee shake-up