The Myth of the Perfect Reputation
Perfection is a myth. By definition it is unobtainable, yet we relentlessly pursue it. In the online reputation world, perfection would be hundreds of 5-star reviews without a speck of negativity – or even neutrality – toward the business. Have you ever seen a business like that? More importantly, would you really trust a business like that?
Apple and Walt Disney World are often used as exemplary models for customer experience. Yet Apple has more than 1,000 complaints in the last year on the Better Business Bureau website, while Walt Disney World only maintains a 4 out of 5 star rating on Yelp. Even the best have had people think the worst of them.
Studies have consistently shown that consumers have more trust in businesses with a mixture of positive and negative reviews, and they suspect censorship when businesses don’t have any bad customer feedback.
Consumers understand that not every customer is going to have an ideal experience. They also understand that some people cannot be satisfied, like this patron on Yelp who blamed a theme park for inclement weather (sadly not an uncommon complaint):
“….Who doesn't love Disney? Me! Disney was not fun. Not with it raining almost all day on the day with a 30% chance of rain, and only part of the day when there was an 80% chance of rain….”
What matters more than trying to achieve perfection is how you handle negative reviews. Ninety-five percent of unhappy customers are likely to return if you handle the issue promptly and efficiently. Responding to reviews and resolving customer issues are the crucial factors that make great customer service businesses excel and stand out from the crowd.
As Walt Disney puts it, “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”