Cyber Bullies VS. Small Chicago Businesses. The Slippery Online Slope and Why Things Need to Change.
YELP is big here in Chicago, reviewing most anything that sparks your interest. We Chicagoans hold what YELP says in high regard. As a consumer, I myself check things out on YELP to see what people are saying about whatever adventure I am about to partake in. Often times I an impressed with the 5 star reviews and other times I am thankful to be forewarned about the intelligent, constructive criticism I see.
Now here we are, on the other side; our small business that is put out there for ALL to critique.
The reviews that come in help keep our name out there and our phone ringing. We are extremely grateful to all our customers who take the time to acknowledge our efforts and we are also thankful on the occasion when a customer expresses concern or a lack of overall satisfaction as this only helps us up our standards and provide better service.
Now here comes the twist, a dark side, a completely uncontrollable part of cyber space. The customer who demands satisfaction using the threat of a bad review not only from them, but all their friends as well. Yes, it does happen. I have to ask myself, when did this cyber bullying become an accepted business practice? Has it really become easier and seemingly more satisfying to complain to the faceless masses on the web than to try to sort it out like regular people? Is it really the more gratifying outcome or just the easier one? Has our society become that jaded with businesses that they just assume or project that there will be a lack of customer service as a means to be nasty online?
As I sit and ponder those questions, I myself have to say that yes, at times I am so frustrated with dealing with the lack of customer service from businesses that I could scream. “Please listen carefully because our options have changed.” “Please type or say your account number again, we did not understand.” “Please hold for the next available agent who you will have to explain everything to again only to be put on a “brief” hold while they transfer you to someone else.” Really?
All of those totally aggravating things are just a fraction of the practices that I personally wanted to erase when we decided to open our business. When my husband asked me what my thoughts were for the business, I answered without a doubt, customer service should be top priority. I want people to feel appreciated and welcome when they call, not guarded and distressed. We understand that things can and sometimes do not go as planned. But be assured that we will be there to answer your calls to help out in the best way possible.
So yes, I can understand the reasoning behind using the “bad review” as a first a first line of defense. But is it possible to change to service industry with one business at a time? I really have no idea, but we are going to give it a shot to see what happens.
Who’s with us, here? Please share your thoughts, particularly if you are small business owners, but also the consumers out there who want to offer their opinions. As small business owners, we put our blood sweat and tears into providing top-notch service and we feel it’s simply too easy to just dismiss that with immature bullying. Much like a child’s development in early stages, what happens at the beginning can have negative long term affects. Just call us, let’s talk out whatever is on your mind. We are all about finding solutions and we believe there has to be a more civilized way of sorting things out. To Be Continued…..
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