DON’T HIDE IN THE FRIDGE

Unless you yourself have been hiding in a fridge, you’ll be quite aware of the most recent scandal in this year’s General Election shown today on Good Morning Britain (GMB) – which has already been deemed #fridgegate thanks to social media (don’t you just love the internet?)

#FRIDGEGATE

If you were unfortunate enough to miss this absolute TV gold, then I will quickly bring you up to speed..

So, as all parties undergo their final push to sway floating voters – Johnson & his team decided to partake in the wholesome task of delivering milk to the people of Leeds, Yorkshire. What could go possibly go wrong, right?

Well, in the most British election scandal I can bear to recall, things quickly took a turn for the worst… and no it wasn’t the milk that was turning…

GMB, more specifically Piers Morgan & Susanna Reid, have been seeking an interview with the current PM for quite a while now – to little success may I add.

Through much delay & frustration, one particularly brave journalist decided to track Johnson down during his harmless little milk-run in the early hours, in hope of securing a somewhat candid interview with a live-link feeding back to Morgan & Reid.

But, no. This sneaky approach from GMB would not be enough to pull the wool over Johnson’s eyes!

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After a rather frosty reception from one of Johnson’s aides, Johnson himself then seemed to scurry away into a walk-in fridge and shut the door. All live on GMB. You literally couldn’t make it up. (See the video for yourself, here)

Now, I’m not here to discuss politics and I’m not here to discuss fridges. (Never thought I’d be saying those two in the same sentence)

THE POWER OF REVIEWS

I’m here to talk about THE POWER OF REVIEWS and how customer scrutiny can lead to success in your overall marketing strategy.

So, if I’m not here to discuss the icy topic of politics? Then why do I bring up #fridgegate?

Well, here’s a perfect example of a political leader seeming to avoid scrutiny in the fear of being perceived in a way which will not benefit his/her campaign. All parties have been guilty of this at some stage. But is this a strategy one should adopt in business?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Political campaigns & marketing campaigns are very similar in many ways as these parties, like businesses – are selling an idea, or a group of ideas. The principles are the same. You want the customer to buy what you’re selling, whether it a manifesto or a fridge…

You get the idea.

However, by avoiding scrutiny and not opening yourself up to public criticism you are not just hiding in the fridge – you are missing an opportunity.

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Whenever I suggest to a client the power of reviews and how they can significantly boost brand awareness & reputation – I’m more often than not met with the fear of receiving negative feedback.

Now this is fine, it’s normal. We’re all scared of negative feedback, whether it’s in our work lives or our personal ones. Nobody wants to be told they’re bad at something. That’s why we hide in the fridge.

HOWEVER…

This can actually do more HARM than GOOD.

If you hide in the fridge too long, you may get frostbite.

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Whether it’s finding a hotel, a new place to eat, buying a phone or contemplating a trip to the cinema. WE WANT REVIEWS.

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS THINK?

Nowadays, consumers hold power. Time & money is much more precious in today’s world as information is so readily available and there’s an abundance of choice.

“95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase”(Spiegel Research Center, 2017)

“93% of local consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is good or bad” (BrightLocal, 2017)

And it’s not just B2C companies that are benefiting from this boom in online reviews.

“92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review”(G2 and Heinz Marketing, 2017)

It’s not rocket-science. We trust people who are similar to ourselves. Other consumers. More than we trust businesses. It’s just human nature.

This is why online reviews and customer feedback are KEY!

“Businesses that claim their free listings on at least four review sites earn 36% more revenue than average” (Womply, 2019)

Now, you might be reading these statistics and thinking “yeah, that’s all great! But what if somebody leaves me a really bad review? It’ll ruin my business!”

This might sound a bit crazy at first but bear with me for a minute…

BAD REVIEWS ARE GOOD!

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An oxymoron, for sure. But let me alter your perspective.

OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE

So, let’s remember back to a time where you played a sport or took part in any other childhood hobby. Did you play for a team? Did you have a coach? Did you receive lessons or training?

Now, how did you improve? Did you receive criticism? Did you open yourself to scrutiny? Did you then act on that feedback?

Of course, you did. Because that’s how we grow. In all walks of life.

If we hide in the fridge all our lives then we will be blind to our public perception and won’t be able to understand our consumers.

“But other customers will see the bad review online and be put off purchasing!”

Let me put to you a hypothetical scenario…

You own a restaurant. You have a bad day. For one reason or another, you serve a dish cold to a customer and he/she isn’t very forgiving.

One bad review on Google, and your ego has taken a hit.

The reviewer outlines their dissatisfaction with the service and publicises the fact you served them a cold meal.

Now, you have two options.

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OPTION 1

You swiftly delete the review and hope nobody else has seen it. (Bearing in mind this doesn’t stop the dissatisfied customer from telling his/her friends)

OPTION 2

You accept the criticism for what it is – ensuring it doesn’t happen again to avoid further judgement.

You also decide to respond to the customer using this online platform and apologetically offer them a free meal next time they visit for commiseration.

The customer is over-the-moon with the response and understands that mistakes happen, before soon resuming their commitment to your restaurant.

He/she then speaks well of your restaurant to friends and family, maybe even updates their review to reflect their new stance.

Other consumers see your response online and are admirable of your transparency and generosity.

Brand reputation receives a huge boost.

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Like I said earlier, we’re only human – and people understand this. Mistakes happen and nobody is perfect.

It is how you react to these mistakes that determine your perception in the public eye.

If you are willing to open yourself up to feedback on online platforms then you can demonstrate to consumers that you are a honest and caring business.

In the unfortunate occurrence of negative feedback, you can use this criticism to improve your service! It will only make your brand stronger in the long-run.

No company has a perfect record when it comes to online reviews – but it’s how they deal with these setbacks that will determine their outcome.

Don’t be like Boris.

Don’t hide in the fridge. 

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