Now that the digital revolution is in full swing and social media is more than just a source of leisure, every company’s online footprint plays a significant role in developing the business’ overall reputation. In addition to how the company represents itself online, customer reviews help to establish how the public views each business. This is especially true for businesses in the travel industry, where word of mouth is just as important as providing exceptional customer service.
Internet Users Do Pay Attention To Ratings
From listings on the Better Business Bureau and Yelp to reviews left on travel websites and Facebook pages, previous customer experiences paint a picture for potential new customers. Nearly every such website provides a section for consumer reports, which includes an easy to view star rating. Generally, there are four to five possible stars with the single star representing poor quality or service, while the fourth or fifth star signifies exceptional quality in both service and product.
While consumers look at these ratings for most products or services, they pay particular attention to these kinds of ratings for hotel accommodations, airlines, and rental cars. Even travel agents tend to make determinations as to which businesses they’ll recommend to their clients based on previous customer reviews.
This also applies to businesses which are servicing travel industries, in addition to those serving travelers directly. For instance, a company like Low Cost Interlock installing ignition interlocks in rental cars wants to make sure their BBB rating is up to snuff. The same can be said for contractors working with airlines and hotels.
Recent research confirms the importance of customer reviews. One study found that leisure travelers typically spend half an hour or more reading reviews, before booking their reservations. In the same study, 10% of travelers actually spend more than an hour reading customer reviews, before making their choices. The study also found that 70% of travelers read 20 or more reviews, while planning their trip. Similarly, 85% of consumers admitted that they will read at least 10 reviews for a particular business, before deciding whether or not to utilize that business.
According to TripAdvisor statistics, 53% of travelers won’t even consider using a business, if they don’t have any reviews. This alone indicates the weight user reviews carry in establishing the reputation of a business.
How Can Businesses Deal With Negative Reviews?
In many cases, customers posting negative reviews are doing so, because they want a response from the company. By joining the conversation and leaving a response to the comment, you may be able to address the concerns that prompted the public criticism. In cases where you can correct the problem or assure the customer of improved service in the future, the customer may amend the review and consider booking your business again in the future.
While a response is important, a timely response is appreciated that much more. Customers view a speedy reply as an indication that you care about your guests or passengers and about your business in general. In some cases, a negative review may come from a competitor in an attempt to intentionally make your business look bad. These may be statements that involve personal attacks or deceptive statements about your product or service. In these cases, it may be better not to respond. Instead, contact the review site and request that the particular review be removed.
Regardless of the circumstances, never let your own emotions affect how you respond to negative feedback. It’s better to let yourself calm down until you can see the problem from the customer’s point of view. Look at the complaint behind the harsh words and try to determine if the customer has a valid issue with the service he or she received. This will help you craft the best response and may even enable you to rectify the situation.
While customer reviews are extremely important in establishing your travel and tourism company reputation, negative reviews don’t always spell doom. If you can publicly satisfy the disgruntled customer, others will see that as well and you’ll establish yourself as an empathetic business. The key to maintaining happy customers and luring new ones is to keep your online image as positive as possible. Responding to customer reviews, good and bad, can be just as important as providing quality customer service to existing clientèle.