Foursquare and Disgruntled Customers: A Dangerous Combination

Foursquare, a GPS location social networking service, lets you "check in" so your friends know where you are. Boasting over 4 mill...

Foursquare, a GPS location social networking service, lets you "check in" so your friends know where you are. Boasting over 4 million users, it also allows them to post reviews of the places they've checked into. The instant nature of the internet makes it an amazing opportunity if customers post good reviews, but also a nightmare if the opposite holds true.

By Karn G. Bulsuk

In the days of lore, a disgruntled customer would complain through word-of-mouth to their friends and other people in their social circle. Research has shown that a person will talk about it to an average of 12 people, and then those 12 people will then pass it on to an average of 6 other people, meaning that one bad experience will result in another 85 people who will view a business negatively.

As quickly as word of mouth may spread, the internet is simply faster. Foursquare allows people to post reviews of businesses and with the open nature of online content, the potential audience has just exploded from eighty-five people to a the entire virtual community. Foursquare users looking for somewhere to eat or some place to do business may think twice or take their business elsewhere if there is too much negative feedback about a place.

Location based social networking
services are quickly gaining popularity
Given the speed of user generated reviews, people no longer need to know each other to engage in word of mouth. Businesses need to be in-tune with the opportunities and threats that location based social networking offers and continue working hard on their customer service, making sure that it is top-notch and consistent. They also need to be aware of any negative comments online and instead of taking it personally, see whether the issue can be remedied. Businesses will need to start going that extra distance to keep happy customers singing their praises online.

Although services such as Facebook Places or Foursquare offer challenges such as the risk of negative feedback, it provides an opportunity to receive candid feedback from customers so businesses better understand their wants. Besides, an even bigger risk than bad comments is that no one knows you exist at all.

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Foursquare and Disgruntled Customers: A Dangerous Combination
Foursquare and Disgruntled Customers: A Dangerous Combination
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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