Spontaneous people power
Ever wanted to review restaurants and shops right there and then? Well, there’s an app for that. Users can now enter 140-character reviews or ‘quick tips’ which are then published to the mobile site. They can also begin a draft of a review on their phone, save it, and publish it from a computer later.
Yelp finds itself attempting to balance immediacy with relevance. Which does present potential problems, e.g. while instantaneous reviews better capture a reviewer’s feelings, this ‘heat of the moment’ reaction may be inaccurate or even misleading. Professional restaurant critics, on the other hand, visit a restaurant several times over many weeks to really understand the restaurant’s capabilities and consistency. Review sites must also consider how to encourage user posts, as the more time passes between the meal or event, the less likely it will be reviewed.
This all creates added pressure for restaurant and business owners to provide high quality customer service, as a poor online review might be just a few key strokes away. So while this may cause standards to rise, customers’ patience may well decrease as their expectations for immediate redress increase.