…a double-edged sword for small businesses?
In the days before the world wide web, it was said that an unhappy customer would tell 6 people about their bad experiences then those six would tell another 6 and so on. Now we have social media and every dissatisfied customer has a potentially global soapbox from which to spread word of their discontent to hundreds, possibly thousands of people in just a few minutes. What’s more, the people reading about you, want to be reading about you; they are actively seeking other people’s experiences of your establishment and that makes a few words of discontent a potentially business-destroying liability. On the other hand, of course, a good review will serve to promote your business but is a positive review as powerful as a bad review? Probably not. We estimate that it takes 9 good reviews to repair the damage done by a single bad review and even then, it depends just how bad bad is!
You’re only as good as the last meal you served
If you’ve been in the restaurant or hotel business for any length of time you will have had cock-ups, there will have been mistakes and ‘unfortunate incidents’ and you will have attracted bad reviews. Frequently, potential visitors to your restaurant are only likely to read the most recent 10 or so reviews about you before they’ve said to themselves “yeah, we’ll go there” or “errrr no, we’ll go elsewhere” so you’re only ever as good as your most recent reviews. However, and this is a strange quirk of human nature, if there are a number of bad reviews, we seem to go on reading them ad nausium, perhaps to see how bad it really got or perhaps inwardly smiling to ourselves for having avoided a disastrous meal or taking pleasure in the misfortune of others – we Brit’s are peculiarly transfixed by schadenfreude.