If you run a local business in Bellingham it might be worth it for you check out what people are saying about you online. For example, I just did a search for “bellingham mexican restaurant”. In this case, being at the top of that search isn’t necessarily a great thing, especially if you read the customer feedback.
One restaurant at the top of that search result, Dos Padres, has 2.5 stars out of 5 on the Google reviews. When you read the actual reviews, it’s pretty clear people are not happy. The entry at the top of the review page says:
Food was WAY over priced, Rice tasted like it came from a box, tortillas were not homemade, beans tasted like the can version etc…
The rest of that review, as well as all the others on that review page, do not make this restaurant look like a good place to bring your family for dinner.
Another restaurant a little further down is Pepper Sisters. That happens to be one of my favorites in town, and I always get the “Pinky Blue”.
So I was a little surprised to see all the negative reviews that have floated to the top of their Google places page. There are positive reviews there too, but they are older and fewer than the negative reviews.
What can a business do about this?
First of all, if the criticism hits the mark, then do something to fix the problem. This social aspect of business is not going away. It’s only getting bigger and businesses that do not serve their customers well are being called out on it publicly.
Next, let the people who left the review know that you appreciate the feedback and are working to fix the problem. Even offer a free meal or some other gift to help make up for the poor experience. Business have the ability to respond publicily to reviews right on the same review page. Future customers can see that you really do appreciate their business and want them to have a good experience.
Finally, ask and encourage your customers to review your businesses online. This could be through the Google places reviews, your business’s Facebook page, Yelp, or some other online social tool.
Now go Google yourself and let me know what you find!