When we travelled to Europe recently, we stayed at some wonderful hotels in Paris, Florence, Lucca and Siena. These were not well-known hotel chains, but boutique hotels that reflected the character of the towns. When we returned home, I went to TripAdvisor to write glowing reviews of them all.
Before writing my own review, I was curious to see what other people said, and I noticed that not all of the reviews were so positive. But most of the negative reviews were due to incorrect expectations of the hotel. So when I wrote my own review, I was not only glowing about our own experience, but I also made a few comments to counteract the negative comments from other reviewers.
TripAdvisor also allows the hotel to add their own comments to reviews, so this gives owners an opportunity to present their own viewpoint. But when a potential visitor reads all the comments, I bet they will trust my comments more than the owner’s comments.
And this is the point: I’m not just a (very happy) customer; I’m also a potential partner of the hotel. I don’t just want to share my opinion with my family and friends; I also want to share it with complete strangers, so they also have a wonderful experience.
Why would I do this? Because I can!
Sure, the Internet has made it much easier to complain about something you don’t like. And your complaints can be louder and go farther than ever before. But the reverse is also true: people who really like something can also praise it much easier, and that praise also is louder and can go farther.
Happy customers can be the strongest advocates for your business – if you let them. They will talk about you without prompting, rave about you to strangers online, and defend you when somebody attacks you. They’re not doing it for the money (and might be offended if you offered any), nor to get a better deal next time. They simply had a great experience, and want others to have the same.
These “partners” might not be long-term relationships in your business. Sometimes they will only ever interact with you once. But their influence can last a long time.