Will FourSquare Delete a Negative Comment on a Business Venue?
In an increasingly thriving online world, businesses are feeling pressured to go social. FourSquare is one social network that is often overlooked or ignored by businesses, especially small businesses. Like Yelp, or any "review" site, customers can post uncensored "tips" about your business. Foursquare is especially dangerous because many business owners don't even know if their business is listed in Foursquare or not. (Hint: It probably is.)
If your business is listed in Foursquare then there is a possibility that unsatisfied customers have left reviews or comments on your business page that are not only unknown to you, but will be seen by any customer using the Foursqaure app to check into your business. If the first thing they see is a terrible review, they may walk out. You just lost a customer who was about to do business with you... and you don't know why.
To the credit of Foursquare, they are not extorting payments from businesses to remove or "filter" negative tips left on venue pages. So what do businesses do about the problem of FourSquare?
Evaluate Your FourSquare Page
Before you do anything, check out your venue page on FourSquare and evaluate what is there. Most likely, you will find no tips. If that is the case, claim your Foursquare venue page and start updating it. The FourSquare Claims process for venues is very quick and straightforward. Check in on your venue to monitor what is being said about your business, just as you would with any other online review website.
I believe that as a business you should do your best to get good reviews from your customers by providing quality products and great customer service. I also realize that customers do not always come to you with problems and that you can not please everyone. Bad reviews and tips can happen, even if you did your best to resolve the problem. I cover online reputation defense more in this article about reverse online reputation management.
Bearing that in mind, if you do find a negative tip on your FourSquare page take the following actions.
Will 4Square Remove a Venue TIp?
How to Get a Tip Removed From Your FourSquare Venue
- Identify the complaint in the Foursquare Tip left on your venue. Is this a real tip? If the tip does not provide any value to another customer then it is possible to have it removed. In my clients case, the tip simply read "Don't use this business." This tip, while it is likely rooted in an actual complaint, the tipster provided no real information about the problem. It was not productive feedback, nor was it helpful to other visitors.
- Prepare your argument before you contact Foursquare the negative tip. If the remark is vulgar, contains profanity, contains threats of violence or is insulting or hateful, then this is a violation of FourSquares House Rules. In my experience, FourSquare takes these rules very seriously so if you find a violation then it is likely FourSquare will be eager to help remove the tip. (If your complaint is about an inappropriate photo posted on your venue page, simply flag it and you are done.)
- Tweet Foursquare customer support. You read that correctly, TWEET @4sqSupport. They are incredibly responsive and will be able to assist you. When I first contacted them and asked if the offending tip on my clients venue page could be removed, their initial response was "Nope!" If the tip is not breaking the rules, they probably will not delete it for you. But it does not hurt to ask anyway.
- Discuss the problem with them, they will follow you (if requested) so that you can DM them and avoid advertising your bad Foursquare Tip all over Twitter. You can also contact them directly using their customer support ticket system. This is a difficult to find link, so I believe they prefer to be contacted via Tweet. However, they are also responsive through their support system. If they tell you no, then at least you tried.
- Contact the Tipster if Foursquare will not remove the tip. Foursquare does not provide any mechanism of contacting other members just yet, so you will have to either recognize the person by name or try to google the user name. See if you can solve the prolem or complaint the customer has. If you are able to do this, he or she can delete or edit their own tip through their online Foursquare dashboard. If you do recognize the Tipster from the start, I recommend doing this before contacting Foursquare. It is always better to resolve a problem rather than cover it up.
If You Can't Get the FourSquare Venue Tip Removed
FourSquare Tips, as with most reviews will shower your venue with overwhelming praise or devastating negativity. That is because people rarely take the time to leave a tip or review unless they feel very strongly about the product or service they received.
If you absolutely can not get the tip removed,
- Post a response. I recommend something like, "I'm sorry you had a bad experience, please come in and we will try to make it right."
- Ask your happy customers to post tips on your Foursquare venue page. This will at least provide a fair assessment of your business or services.
- Post an update to your page that says "Please contact the manager at 555-5555 if you experience any difficulties or have a complaint. We'd like the opportunity to correct the problem before you leave online tips or reviews. (Actually, post that everywhere. You do want your customers dealing with you before they hit the internet!)
All you can do in the wake of a bad review that you cannot have removed is continue working to improve your customers experience and earn excellent, glowing reviews. This is the best way to accomplish a great internet reputation.
Depending on the business and average age of your clients, probably only a small percentage of your clientele use FourSquare at all. However, FourSquare and related social networking sites are growing at a rate that should alarm business owners and inspire reform in business practices.