Social media reviews lack an insightful and descriptive endorsement. Rather they are demonstrative of a very personal experience, which is based on a multitude of factors apart from just the product or service. This is why they are not the best social media listening tools to monitor the growth of your service or business.
Social media reviews maybe great for movies or hotels, but are they an equally effective medium to drive the decisions of consumers across all sectors?
Why reviews are not social media listening tools for your restaurant business
There is no doubt that feedback is an important aspect of managing and developing any business. Knowing the tastes, preferences and experiences of the consumers can help a business in streamlining and correcting its procedures, protocols and standards. It also helps businesses in serving the customers better. This is because they can make more informed decisions about their processes, products and services.
Although the importance of “feedback” cannot be undermined, the feedback received from social media may not always be reliable or accurate. It is important for business owners to understand the demerits of social media in providing an accurate picture of the customer’s experience with a product or service. There are many reasons why social media reviews are not representative of the real experience of the consumer.
They are a personal recommendation
Many factors that influence the customer’s experience and those factors may not always be in within the control of the business. The reason behind a bad customer review may not always be a bad product or sub-par service. There are several factors that are constantly affecting the customer’s decision. Is the customer irate because of the long wait for the table? Is the customer having a bad day? It is an incontestable fact that the experience of the customer is marred by such factors. One bad review can significantly affect the reputation of the business. Individuals have diverse opinions, tastes and preferences. Often the reviews posted by them is a reflection of their own disappointment with the product with regards to their own expectations. It may not have anything to do with the quality of the product or the service per se.
Lack of clarity as social media listening tools
The reviews on social media do not differential between the opinions of a connoisseur and a novice or a beginner. The internet is an extremely democratic space. It does not differentiate between the opinion of a knowledgeable expert and a college student looking to kill time on the internet. It is not surprising that even the great wall of china has received bad reviews on Google reviews. The review websites such as yelp and trip advisor give everyone an equal opportunity to post a review about their experience, regardless of whether they are seasoned critics or first time customers.
Reviews not based on any logical metrics
Social media reviews often fail to provide an objective or informative opinion, rather, they put across a very biased description of the user experience which is inaccurate and misrepresentative and influenced by several factors that are beyond the control of the business management.
You don’t have to be a food critic to criticize food on social media. However, these reviews often lack any objectivity or insight. They are not based on any purposeful or targeted indices. Thus, it is difficult to say that they serve any kind of object. They do not provide usable information about the product or service.
Limited to young people
Although people of all age groups use social media, it cannot be denied that young people make up the large segment of its users. The reviews on social media are therefore biased with the popular tastes and preferences of the young. Social media reviews are representative of the likes and dislikes of a very specific segment of customers. Thus the reviews cannot be considered to provide a universal opinion. The usage of social media decreases among the above 50 age segment and reduces more and more from thereon. The social media a s a medium of information largely describes the preferences of the young.
There is a large segment of customers, especially the older and the middle-aged people, who would never post a review, good or bad, regardless of how their experience was. Thus, social media does not effectively tap on this segment of customers.
Fake reviews furthering personal agendas
Bogus review are a problem of epidemic proportions. In these times of aggressive marketing and PR strategies, posting reviews on websites is also a component of social media marketing. There are several businesses that have hired professionals and agencies to help them augment their presence on social media. They do this by posting fake reviews and awarding fake stars.
Thus, many such reviews on a number of websites are completely untrustworthy. They have been written with the one point agenda to tweak the stature and opinion of a particular business. These fake reviews can affect the decision of a potential customer.
Internet being an equal opportunity giver, affords everyone the chance to be able to post a review. Many review websites do not even require the user to sign in to be able to post a review. Thus, there is massive misuse of this feature to post biased reviews in favor of certain businesses.
The Competition and Markets Authority of the United Kingdom estimates that the purchase decisions of a total worth of £23bn are influenced by fake reviews.
Subpar reviews not ideal social media listening tools
You must remember that internet can be a wide continuum of untrustworthy information. Much of the information can be rather dubious or questionable. Although a lot of people resort to the review websites for an opinion on businesses, products, services and local establishments, the trustworthiness of these websites is fast diminishing in the light of fake reviews and exaggerated comments. In the lack of trustworthy and dependable sources of opinion, it can be quite problematic to assess the quality of the reviews.
Unreasonably high customer expectations
One of the biggest challenges with social media reviews is that the customer’s expectations are often too high. Their disappointment steps from their own astronomical expectations. The customers are often also rigid and do not readily accept change. Many a times, irate customers vent out their disappointment in a bad review. On Amazon, there are reviewers who have awarded 2 stars to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. They have then proceeded to write that “Unless genius means boring, whoever called Shakespeare a genius was lying”. The disappointment may not come from a sub-par product but from the fact that the product fails to meet their own expectation.
The customer may not always have realistic expectations from a product or service. Often when the demands of such customers fail, you have an irate customer. It is important to have a portal that facilitates unbiased, balanced opinions. Trust social media listening tools that give out opinions on very objective and rational metrics.