Recently while planning a trip to Chicago my first chore after making my flight arrangements was to book my hotel. So I got on tripadvisor and began my social media search. It was unbelievable how much information was available. Not just webpages of the accommodations and the picture perfect photos of the rooms and lobby areas but actual consumers who had stayed at the hotel. They rated based on different types of criteria, from the rooms to the service, etc… Some were excellent giving you lots of information the consumer would really need to know like, “don’t bring a car”, “can walk to shopping and lots of restaurants in the area”, “rooms are very small or large” or “impeccable service or not”. They even had a place where consumers could upload their own pictures of the hotel rooms and complaints or great views. Social media has taken the guess work out of making a good choice, and the choice was excellent!! It lived up to everything everyone wrote about it.
Caution, inspect what you expect
On the part of the businesses it is exceptionally important as consumers begin to rely on the recommendation of others using social media to make sure that they are monitoring what is being said about them. It is great if you have the best restaurant in town but if consumers keep posting on social media how long the wait is for a table and you don’t take reservations, you may soon not have to worry about having too many customers. Staying a head of bad comments and rectifying them as needed is your best bet. Social media makes businesses very vulnerable to criticism but if your expectations for your business is to have great customer service then you should inspect your social media to make sure you are delivering it!
Let’s be honest…..
As a consumer using comments from social media to help me determine choices, I for one have to say, PLEASE be honest! This is not a place to rant and rave over someone you personally did not like or to make up a lie to try and get payback for something that wasn’t the businesses fault. There is an awesome bakery that someone wrote on a social media comment page that the cake they got was horrible, that it fell apart before their event and they were devastated. The part they left out was that they picked up the cake in the morning and left it in their warm kitchen on the counter all day until that evening when their event took place and it began to fall apart as they cut it. It’s butter and sugar for goodness sake! Your instructions were to refrigerate and take out 2 hours prior to serving!! This is a social media no-no!! Social media can be an awesome advisor but you do have to watch for the crazies, go with what the majority is telling, because you know there’s always one in the crowd.