For many businesses, managing customer relations has long been fairly straight-forward. You put out what you thought was a pretty decent product or service, and if the customer didn’t like it, you could tell them- as they say in France– “sucks for you” (ok well they probably don’t say that in France but it sounded good). We’ve also all been there as a customer– the toy you bought your kid that stopped working 5 minutes after he opened it and the store says “lost your receipt? Guess you’re out of luck, store policy”. For centuries there has not been a whole lot you could do about it. But now, it would appear, that time is rapidly ending. Now that person formerly known to you as your compliant, “herd ’em into the barn for milking time” customer is now armed. That customer can very much make it suck for your business too. As Jay Baer writes about in his book the “Now Revolution“– in this new world “every customer is a potential reporter, and every employee is a potential spokesperson”.
When you add on top of that the fact that a recent survey found that 70% of local customers use reviews as a factor when making a decision about a business, and 69% trust the reviews of strangers as much as recommendations from people they know, it begins to send a clear signal that this is an area you want to pay attention to.