The internet has fundamentally changed the way we approach all levels of interaction with businesses. Now, before we ever even step foot inside of a store it is likely that we have investigated the business by looking at online reviews. While online review websites, like Yelp or Angie’s List, have given power to the consumer they have also made it increasingly difficult for honest businesses to overcome any honest rough periods in their lifespan. Andrew Gruel, owner of the sustainable seafood restaurant ‘Slapfish’, shared his story.
As a talented chef with the goal of providing delicious, sustainable seafood to his customers it seemed like Andrew Gruel had his niche on lock. However, his restaurant faced issues upon first opening. Mr. Gruel hadn’t calibrated his prices or serving sizes to reflect the area and as a result the chef was hit with a slew of one star reviews online. Mr. Gruel told reporters that these reviews “can bury you” and that your goal is to simply “stop the bleeding”. Unfortunately, for the most part one star reviews are permanent and a constant drain on a business. That is where a company like Status Labs would come into play.
Status Labs is an online reputation management company that focuses on helping companies keep their core values on display on the internet. When it comes to bad reviews Mr. Gruel and Status Labs would work together to bring down how harsh those reviews were by engaging in a social way. Status Labs would monitor the internet for negative reviews of a restaurant, Slapfish in this example, and they would instantly engage the customer with what they found lacking in their visit. Engaging the customer and their complaints then opens up a dialogue that allows the restaurant to remedy any issues and hopefully change the review.
Another problem in the world of business reviews is that, increasingly, we are finding that people are getting hired to write fake reviews — something that is both dishonest and immoral. Fake reviews have become a plague on websites like Yelp because they undermine the core values of the system. Fake reviews that either fluff up or deflate a business can have long lasting, negative effects on the business. Mr. Gruel admitted that he aimed for “four and five star reviews” because at that rating he believed his business was going to “be sustainable” for the long run.