In the new era of social media and review sites, customers have power like never before to damage a business and its reputation. Find a fly in your soup at a local restaurant, and a quick witty post about it on TripAdvisor or on Facebook and you’ll soon have the world believing the establishment boasts more insect life than the jungles of Panama.

A question though perhaps we might ask ourselves is, should we in the first instance be posting views on social media or review sites after we leave a premises, potentially inflicting real damage to the business concerned? Alternatively, should we not recognise it’s very difficult to get everything right, especially for every single customer, and so instead feedback to the management quietly, giving them the at least a chance to improve their business and perhaps even make it up to us personally.

Certainly if the business concerned were run by a friend or member of our own family, we wouldn’t dream of publishing negative feedback online as we’d recognise the hard work they put into building the business, and that it would cause them damage. So why do we so readily seek to take this action rather than feedback as we would do if we knew the owner? The English don’t like to make complaints, we prefer to have something to moan about later, but when this negative comment finds its way onto social media and review sites this is no longer harmless chat, it’s broadcasting, and could indeed be seen as malicious since it potentially causes such great harm.

Business owners also need to play a significant part in changing the feedback culture too; management should consider putting in place a feedback scheme / voice of the customer facility. Once received, it is vital any feedback is acted upon quickly, demonstrating to the customer their feedback will result in a positive change and that the business sincerely cares that they are unhappy with their experience. If a customer rescue is achieved and the situation rectified, research shows that these customers will be more loyal than before, and indeed be bigger advocates for the business.

The English don't like to complain2

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