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If You Can’t Stand The Heat, Stay Off Of Facebook

Posted by zachthebernstein on May 22, 2013

In case anyone plans to start a restaurant at some point in life, keep this in mind: When responding to negative reviews on social networks like Facebook, you probably don’t want to respond with comments like “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE.  YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD.”  That’s apparently what a restaurant owner in Arizona did on Facebook, according to the AP.  For what it’s worth, the article mentions that the company, Amy’s Baking Co., is claiming they were hacked, but commenters don’t seem to be buying it.  (In case you’re wondering if the food is actually any good, the article mentions that Gordon Ramsay featured this restaurant on an episode of a reality show centered around horrible restaurants.  He eventually gave up on them when they wouldn’t take his advice.  That’s right – Gordon Ramsay got frustrated.)

So, this sort of thing is a fairly obvious no-no when it comes to social media, no matter what industry you’re in, so in that respect this story shouldn’t mean that much.  But there was one quote that struck me as particularly intriguing, and it came more than halfway through the article:

“Customer service is a spectator sport now,” said Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, a social media marketing consultancy in Indiana. “It’s not about making that customer happy on Yelp. That’s the big misunderstanding of Yelp. It’s about the hundreds of thousands of people who are looking on to see how you handle it. It’s those ripples that make social media so important.

We talked in our first class about how powerful word of mouth is at winning new customers, and why that means a site like Yelp, where people can learn how others liked – or didn’t like – a place, really matters.  But is that the real value of Yelp, or is it the idea that people can see how you handle disgruntled customers?  I’m not sure I totally agree, if that’s what Mr. Baer is saying.  Sure, I don’t want to eat somewhere that deals out verbal abuse to unhappy diners, but I also probably wouldn’t want to eat somewhere that serves awful food but was super-sweet about responding to people.  That said, I can’t imagine something like this will help Amy’s Baking, especially now that it’s caught on with a more traditional media source.

-Zach Bernstein


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