Has Yelp Suddenly Turned Us All Into Jackasses?

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YelpI read a great email on this topic from North Social today and found it to be timely about my concerns with social media at the moment.

The question is this – Just because we all have keyboards and high-speed Internet connections, does this give us the right to act like complete jerks?

Certainly, the Internet has created instant gratification expectations, but why do some unhappy consumers skip the proper customer service channels and instead choose to publicly flame a business? Don’t get me wrong, negative feedback can be just the kick in the pants a business needs to improve an aspect of its operation, but at least allow for a response before you go all “Mel Gibson” on them.

As a business owner, I don’t think it’s necessary to get too worked up or baited into a fight, but I can’t help but get angry when someone does that to my business if they’re wrong. Yelp, for example, will not remove a review that was obviously planted by a jealous competitor or a customer who is trying to use Yelp to extort us. Both have happened to us and are out there for all to read. Permanent blemishes that we can’t get removed. Not that we’re perfect, nobody is. Hey, we’re big boys. If we screwed up we’ll apologize and make it right. But it’s grossly unfair to use social media to try and destroy a competitor or to extort  us.

I just hope that people reading these bogus reviews take them with a grain of salt and dismiss them for what they are. Or take for example the review we just received where the person complained about our selection being “thin” for the two varietals of wines she was looking for. Seriously? At all times we have over 2000 selections of a wide variety of wines in our store and she calls us thin? If she had simply called us, or talked to our staff, she would have been told that we too like those varietals she was looking for but . . . THEY DON’T SELL IN OUR STORE! After being in business for going on seven years, don’t you think we might know what sells and what doesn’t? Does it make sense to carry wines that people won’t buy? No, instead she decides to berate us through social media and THAT is what makes me pazzo.

If you consider that we’ve been in business for seven years, we’re obviously doing something right. Since we have less than 30 Yelp reviews over this time period, I should not let this one person rain on our parade as there are thousands of other customers out there who do like us yet never say anything. I fear that Yelp, and the people who write scurrilous reviews for them, hurt businesses more than they help. When you have no way to defend yourself to get bogus reviews removed, it is a bad service that Yelp provides. Don’t even get me started on having to pay Yelp to get competitor ads removed from your profile page. Grrrr.

One last thought – by demanding that the United Nations issue immediate sanctions against the company in question for the capital offense of not waiting on you hand and foot to your demanding satisfaction, you are only making the world a less enjoyable place and solidifying your status as a first class jackass.