Social media empowered the consumers by giving them a venue to express their views.  One person’s voice can now be easily broadcasted and heard by many. Thus, companies should always strive for a great customer experience…great enough to trigger one person to share it to her social network and influence others to do the same.

However, the same goes for a bad a customer experience…I’m not even talking about the worst.  For some reason, most people will only share and recommend an outstanding product/customer service, but is quick to announce a bad product or service.

For instance, in my  Facebook feed I could see photos with  the happy faces of my friends in various venues such as restaurants, bars or the park.  Some would post photos of their great buys…mostly women 😉 Meanwhile, some would check-in to restaurants or give updates on where they are and what they’re doing. These can all lead to an online conversation.  It is not exactly selling, but a happy customer can go a long way in social media.   However, a status update about a food or venue that doesn’t meet customer expectations can trigger a longer list of comments because people in their network wanted to know where or what it was.  It’s like a cross between a quick review and warning.

Another good example is the hotel reviews in Trip Advisor.   Sometimes, when you search for a hotel name, the trip advisor review for the hotel appears on the same search page.  A series of bad reviews can easily put a dent in your marketing efforts.

Here is an excerpt from Trip Advisor of negative comments/reviews for a hotel in Rome:

  • “Not suites and the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed at”
  • “A big mistake!!”
  • “BED BUGS!!! Do Not Book This Hotel!”
  • “I´ve never seen so rude staff!”
  • “shoddy”
  • “Never, ever, ever stay here!”
  • “hotel staff are crazy, and charge your card over and over again, especially if you didn’t turn up!!”
  • “This place sucks.”
  • “Oh my God…run…RUN!”

As a traveller, who has several choices for a hotel…I would not take chances in a hotel with such bad reviews.  Thus , hotel owners and managers should not only respond to a bad review in Trip Advisor and other hotel review websites, but also make sure the complaints are rectified.

Investing in a nice website, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and paid advertisements won’t really pay off if the actual product and service is not as advertised.   Social media made consumers smarter by becoming more well-informed.   They read review sites. Get insights from forums, blogs, online communities or other members of their social network. They trust other consumers more than the marketers!

The marketing days of overselling are long gone.  The global financial crisis shifted the consumer focus from wants to needs.  People want more value for their hard earned money.

Thanks to the web, the latest technologies and social media…now the consumer has the power to make an intelligent choice.

Monopoly is a thing of the past only reserved for an elite few.   So, if you want to survive in a tough market, make sure you are in touch with your consumers.   Listen and communicate to them, so customer expectations are not only met but surpassed!

Cheers!

 

 

Photo: Flickr Joe Schlabotnik

 

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