With all the hype about FaceBook, small businesses are racing to create fan pages and buy FaceBook ads. But most Malaysian businesses have completely ignored FourSquare, which in my opinion is much more influential.
With a FourSquare account and mobile phone, you can “check in” to the places you visit. Each check-in earns you points, badges and eventually the title of “mayor”.
It’s sort of an online “game” that you play with your friends, keeping track of your point compared to the point your friends are adding every day.
But the more important feature is the ability for users to leave reviews and “tips” about your business. If you own a physical retail outlet, and you’re not reading these reviews, you could be in for a big surprise.
Just the other day I checked in to Kenny Rogers in AEON / Jusco shopping center in Melaka. As soon as I sat down I checked in to FourSquare, and was shocked by the amount of negative reviews about the place.
Looking around I saw messy tables and annoyed customers. We ordered and waited almost 45 minutes for our food to arrive, then just decided to leave.
The reviews were spot on. I should have listened and not wasted my time at Kenny Rogers.
It seems that a lot of franchise outlets in Malaysia are getting from bad to worse. Besides, most Malaysian businesses pay almost no attention to customer service.
This is one of the reasons why more and more Malaysians are actively reviewing businesses, especially restaurants.
So what are people saying about your business?
You cannot just ignore this “small” group of people, nor can you stop them from saying what they want to say.
The best you can hope to do is to be a part of the conversation. If you can’t beat them, join them!