I have a 3 year old that loves cupcakes. We’ve driven 30 minutes on a whim to drop in on The Cupcake Shoppe. When my in-laws moved to the town next door, they found a great cupcake shop in Fuquay called Cupcake Bite.
The first I heard about Cupcake Bite was from my mother-in-law who said the cupcakes were delicious! The next day my wife and son tried it out. They also liked the cupcakes, but the person handling the counter was brief at best and rude at worst. After about 8 or 10 visits mt wife finally left a message for them on their Facebook page and on their Yelp listing.
Both the Yelp review and the Facebook post were basically, “I love the cupcakes, but the service is so bad I’ve stopped going”.
So this is the part where the world has changed.
In 1995, the only customer who mattered was the food critic from your local newspaper. Now everyone is a critic. Even scarier, you have no idea who has influence until it’s too late.
My wife received a Facebook message from the owner that said:
This is Gina, the owner of CupCakeBite. I saw your post and I wanted to reach out to you. I appreciate your business and am happy to hear you enjoy our cupcakes. I’m sorry that you’ve had a bad experience here and of course, would like to prevent that from happening again. That being said, I would have really appreciated you talking to me first before posting on our Facebook page and writing a very negative review on Yelp.
Every small business owner would like that, but the hard reality is that’s not the way the world works anymore. People post on Facebook the same things they have always chatted about to their friends, but now everyone can listen in. Almost nobody ever says, “let me talk to the owner”.
It doesn’t matter if you think the new way sucks, it just is.
People in general don’t care about your business, they care about themselves. A small business just getting started has to give people a reason to love them. People want to support small businesses in their town, they want to be the one that tells their friends that they found a great new place, they want to be the one that is known by name at the cool new place. In exchange for that kind of passion, you need to make them feel special.
The not so secret part of the equation is that the more love you push onto your customers, the more love they’ll bring back to your business.
If I was advising the owner as a social media strategist, I would recommend the following:
- Stop removing negative comments on your Facebook wall and fix the problems creating the negative feedback.
- If you ever find yourself writing the phrase “with that said” in an email to a customer, stop writing. No customer cares about how hard you have it.
- The people who leave you negative feedback may be your biggest fans in disguise, love them more to find out.
- Learn the names of your best customers, or at least their faces so you can greet them. That goes for everyone in the shop.
- Every once in a while, ask someone what cupcake their next-door-neighbor would like, then give it to them in a separate bag so they can hand deliver it to them. Word of mouth is powerful.
- Stop looking at comments as positive and negative, and instead think, “that’s interesting”. Respond to both types with the desire to learn.
- Try to stay positive with yourself, your staff and your customers.