It might be said that in our current hyper litigious environment even an online review can cost you big. How big you ask? According to a recent report conducted by Harvard Business School, restaurants found an average a one star increase on Yelp leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue for that particular restaurant.
More and more tech companies are creating innovative ways to allow people to market their product in an online marketplace. There is always a concern by businesses about how the review process works. Each business does this differently. One example is Yelp and is probably the most popular and noteworthy one, but I recently encountered a similar problem with a different tech company, and how they handled it.
Like many I have begun using Airbnb.com to rent my place out when on vacation, or traveling. It so happened that I had a reservation set for the Friday after Hurricane Sandy. It should be noted that power was restored 4 hours prior to the guests arrival. This guest did not enjoy her experience despite other reviews being excellent, and made a complaint review to the customer support team. This did alter my properties overall rating albeit not by much. The bigger point as the handling by the administrative teams. I received an email alert from hosting support by a curious yet kind lady dubbed “Melissa”. I could not sure if Melissa is a undergrad in Mumbia, but i answered the email with the situation and received this response
Thank you for your reply and feedback on the situation. I’m really sorry to hear that you were so affected by the hurricane! It’s a shame that your guest was unable to give the benefit of the doubt to you in this situation, and I can understand that this is frustrating to you as a host. Normally we would suggest that you write a response to a review in order to help give context to the issue. However, the four reviews that you have so far are positive, and none really warrant a response from you.
I agree with Melissa that response was not needed, what as needed was a look at what both parties have responsibility to disclose.
The answer for tech developers with clients who create review based apps or sites is simple. Create an avenue for dialogue between the two parties online.
Consumers will ultimately know that while a mom and pop shop doesn’t have the capital to litigate a bad Yelp review, it doesn’t mean that the big boys won’t.