*Disclaimer – this is probably a tempest in a teapot, but it’s a useful exercise in reputation management that directly influences business.
Especially in this economy, every customer counts.
A brief anatomy of how at least sixty people are less likely to eat at the Boathouse in Charlottesville (and I’m one of the sixty).
– Amanda ate at the Boathouse, and didn’t like it. (She’s telling at least 10 people with this post)
– I saw the blog post and remarked on Twitter – “I wonder if anyone at the new restaurant The Boathouse in Charlottesville is monitoring the blogs? They should be. http://is.gd/9vMh about 8 hours ago from TweetDeck” (I’ll easily talk to 10 people and recommend them maybe trying something else – admittedly based on only one review)
– So did Elizabeth. “@JimDuncan I saw that review of the Boathouse too. Matches up pretty well with my experience there right after they opened. about 7 hours ago from twhirl in reply to JimDuncan” (I’ll bet she’ll talk to 10 people)
– Nick saw our tweets – “thanks @jimduncan and @emccullough for the info/pointers on the boathouse. had thought about trying it, but might wait a while or so “ (Nick, too)
– Waldo noted the blog post about the Boathouse. (Way more than 10 people read cvillenews)
Here’s what I would recommend to the owners of the Boathouse (not that they’re asking)-
– Don’t ignore these blog posts and tweets. Comment on the respective posts. Ask for a second chance; admitting that something might have gone wrong on that particular night and apologizing will go a long way.
– Don’t get mad at the blogger; it’s doubtful they have any malice towards your restaurant – they’re just sharing their experience and opinion.
– Add yourself to Yelp, and encourage your customers to share their opinions there … and then monitor the feedback.
– Invite us to dinner. Seriously. Reach out to the community – they’re the ones who will voluntarily seek to repair the damage that’s been done.
– Ignore it all – it’s only a few blogs and tweets after all (but check out the people who noticed – they’re all connected and are likely either influencers, connectors or mavens)
The first idea is that some people are â€œhubsâ€ – they are well connected. (True, as far as we can tell). The second idea is that some people are influencers. (Also true, as far as we can tell). The third idea is to spread an idea – any idea which is â€œstickyâ€ – you target the influencers, who are gatekeepers to the mass market. (This is an idea which is false, in our experience).
Especially in this economy, every person is a critic, and we certainly have choices when it comes to dining out (which is less and less frequent). Reach out – you’ll be surprised how well people respond.