Is social media telling you everything?

>>Is social media telling you everything?

Everyone has an opinion and now it is easier than ever to voice that opinion to the world. But social media may not be the best way to judge business success, explains Louise Newman

You could be forgiven for thinking the opposite given the huge importance attached to social media these days, but contrary to appearances, online reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Amazon and Google represent the opinions of the very few, not the many. A study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that only 1.5% of customers post online reviews.

Furthermore, a 2017 British Hospitality Association report found that 85% of its members had experienced fake or malicious reviews. Indeed, research from the US estimates that roughly 30% of all reviews online may be fraudulent.

This is not to say that businesses should underestimate the importance and power of review sites. With the exception of a few legal stand-offs, the vast majority of hospitality businesses have learned to live with and benefit from the marketing advantages of our relatively new culture of citizen journalism.

However, it is perfectly clear that if you wish to capture a truly representative picture of your customer’s opinions, then global review sites are not the place. Your business needs another solution; a solution that represents far more than 1.5% of your customer base.

Of course, we are well-aware of the barriers to gaining meaningful and statistically-robust customer feedback. In fact these barriers are the very same reasons so few bother to post online reviews. Put simply, life is too short and we can’t be bothered with lengthy questionnaires, log-ins, downloading apps, or we may not wish to have our views made public.

So how about asking your diners or hotel guests face-to-face what they thought of their experience? Well, that’s unlikely to work either, because the majority of us don’t like to be put on the spot. And how do we know it will get back to the management team? Statistics show that only 11% of customers give honest feedback when asked face-to-face.

Enter CRITIQUIE, a new customer feedback solution launched in 2017. Louise and Neil Newman have decades of IT and customer service experience, as well as being passionate and enthusiastic about the hospitality sector. The CRITIQUIE service ensures an easy way for customers to simply and quickly give their views. Our feedback solution can be completely anonymous for the customer and is confidential for the business. No log-in is required, nor the download of an app. The solution can be branded for the business and, with its responsive design, can be accessed on any device. It can be integrated into the business website or app and can be accessed via email, QR codes, or completed via a tablet at checkout or payment, to name a few options.

It is very quick and easy to complete. Our carefully-researched design means that, unlike traditional surveys where you are asked a plethora of questions, we simply give the customer an intuitive platform for them to easily express their opinions back to the business.

The business captures the feedback of its customers instantly, which is displayed statistically via a dedicated business portal and dashboard. Although we never insist on customers giving their feedback, or bribe them with a ‘prize’ for submitting it, it is common for event organisers, for example, who are using the CRITIQUIE solution to capture the opinions of 60 – 80% of delegates.

Lorraine Wood, director of the Arena hospitality networking association, says: “The data and analysis we gain from the CRITIQUIE service is greatly valued. It’s used at board level to evaluate the success of our events. We can very quickly and easily see the delegate experience, then make any necessary tweaks to ensure future events continue to be current, useful and well-attended.”

Louise Newman is managing director and founder of CRITIQUIE
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