Last week a fake restaurant based in a South London shed was voted the best restaurant on Trip Advisor. Writer Oobah Butler decided to see how far his prank could go and see if his shed could top the listings. Asking friends and family to post reviews, it quickly rose up the listings to the number one spot. Phone calls for reservations started flooding in with people eager to reserve a table. Supporting his cunning plan was a luxurious sounding menu with fancy mains and desserts and website. He also confessed that he had, in the past, been paid by restaurants to leave positive reviews which led him to his experiment.
These days every business has an online presence – it’s the first thing potential customers will check. Then having established your credibility they may go on to read reviews before parting with their money. This is where the potential for deceit and abuse creeps in. Take a hypothetical situation not to far from home for us. If you wanted a birthday cake or wedding cake your first port of call would be Google in most cases. Two competing websites may have very similar sites, great mouth watering pictures of cakes and desserts but one has great 5 star reviews and the other 1 star. Which cake would you buy ?
As a business it feels like you can be held hostage by online reviewers and at their mercy when reviews come in. The only answer is to provide a world class service, develop and nurture your relationships with your clients so your not held hostage by poor anonymous reviews