The internet has given a voice to the faceless. Through the keyboard, anyone with a grievance against a product or service can take to the internet and hammer out a scathing attack on the company or its services. Most brands have websites that encourage customers to come up with what they think of a particular product or service. Many of them use automated review filters to sift through the reviews written and uploaded by users. While these automated review filters can get the work done faster than manual gleaning, it is not always hunky dory!
Ask Yelp! They have got a lawsuit slapped on them by a California restaurant owner stating that the automated review filters used by Yelp do not stand up to the labels taped on it. Yelp advertises its automated review filters as ‘most trustworthy’ and ‘remarkable filtering process’. The restaurant owner does not have a problem with the automated review filters per se. He challenged Yelp’s labels on these filters, calling them misleading. The court has judged in favour of Yelp but it has raised some pertinent questions on the necessity of the automated review filters in itself.
Experts working on online marketing and branding feel that it is imperative for business owners to work their way through the user feedback that is churned by their internet machinery. According to them, unless brands keep an eye and an ear out to pick up what the users feel about products and services, they will soon lose touch with their customer base. No matter how smart your marketing mantras are, you need a sounding board to check if they are working at all before you find yourself at the tip of an abyss. User feedback is the best way to gauge your success and identify your failures. Leaving that to automated software seems like a self-defeating exercise in online reputation management.
Taking this discussion further, it is not a smart move on the part of brands to obliterate negative reviews totally. That is quite unbelievable for brand! While dealing with thousands of customers, mistakes will be made. Brushing them under the carpet will only draw attention to the weak links. Instead, allow the negative reviews to be published as well and then respond to the criticism constructively. That will heighten the credibility of the review page and also give out the message to your customers that you care. They will feel that you are concerned about a botched service and want to make amends. It is these moves that take your brand ahead of the curve.