This is a blog about Yelp.com, integrity, and social media. It’s also a follow up to the my blog, Fired over Foursquare, ( http://tinyurl.com/28ckzwk ) which I wrote a few weeks ago. DISCLOSURE: I was not: but I am now a disgruntled employee of “Blank,” from the aforementioned blog.
In “F over F” I wrote about a business owner who did not understand, because of social media sites and outlets, such as Foursquare, Facebook, MySpace, CitySearch, Metromix and YELP, that clients of their business have the ability to choose to follow a hairdresser or aerobics instructor or waiter to another business location AND the client also has the right to stay and patronize the owners’ business. In this day and age, both the business owner and the service personnel have the ability to provide a very personal ongoing rapport and relationship with their clients, and prospective clients, with their social media skills. Because of social media, the client has choice!
As a hairdresser with an Iphone, my clients let me know if they are running late or they can “FaceBook me” with hair or restaurant questions. They can see what I’m up to on the weekends and join me for volleyball. And through Twitter and Facebook I can let them know if we have a new product that I recommend or if we get a new stylist into the salon that I would like them to welcome with me. My website links me and clients to Green sites and my novels and my writing. And my blog is, well, you’re reading it…
Since “Blank” did not understand the social netting that supports and sustains his clients enjoyment and continued interaction with his business, it came as no surprise to me that he and I would agree to end our business relationship and we parted ways–on good terms–or so I thought. [By the way, Blank finally got a FaceBook fan page and a website. Both mediums do not solicit interaction from staff or clients.]
Then the letter arrived in my clients mail boxes from Blank Salon. It did not have a welcoming tone such as “We thank you for your business and we’d love to see you again.” It simply stated that I was no longer working at his salon. A shitty piece of marketing and a waste of a stamp, I say. I do believe Blank had his feelings hurt because I left, but come on…
Well this letter pissed off quite a few of my clients. First they panicked. (see comments on “F over F”) And then they went to any number of social media outlets to find out where I was. And then two of my clients who had previously posted positive comments on YELP went back onto YELP to let Blank know that they did not appreciate the way they were treated.
Another disclosure: It might matter to you and to YELP and to BLANK, but I did not put my clients up to this. BUT I could be a vindictive ex-employee who is also a liar.
SO: Here’s where what really pisses me off. “SOMEONE” had those unsolicited YELPs written by my clients removed. And do you know which Yelps were are left on for Blanks business? The positive Yelps that my clients had previously written about me and another ex-employee who also now happened to works with me at a brand new salon! So, basically, as of today, all of his positive ratings are still being generated by Yelps about me and another former employee. As a stylist who’s still bringing new clients to Blank’s salon via social media shoutouts from my client’s past YELP’s: I’m appalled. But as a writer of Chicago scandal and social injustice–I love it! Thank you, YELP and Blank.
Shame on the business owner if he was the one who had only the negative Yelps removed. BUT damn you YELP for taking away the voice of real customers. Neither of my clients were contacted by YELP to see if a vindictive hairdresser put them up to a negative posting–so both of them re-posted again–only with a vengeance.
I have always enjoyed a high Yelp rating because my clients are social media users and they can say what they will about me. Thank god, it’s been positive–up to now. But also, up until now, I have thought of YELP as an unbiased resource of reviews from real customers of businesses; businesses that I might like to use, such as restaurants, salons etc.
But I do not trust Yelp.com anymore. If a business can keep a positive Yelp ratings simply by removing posts that they do not like, this site has no integrity. Yelp is simply a tool. And maybe a bigger tool than I think Blank is.
I am now going to dedicate a page of my website, http://mafiahairdresser.com/ to making sure that Chicago stylists don’t get kicked to the curb by tyrannical salon owners, and that Chicago clients can always find out where their stylist are. More to come…
Please order your copy of Mafia Hairdresser, the novel about my life as a hairdresser to a mob couple in the 80’s, and subscribe to this blog!