The national dish here is not curry, but take-away – in any form.
New York City has long been famous for its 24-hour mentality. But technology today has added another dimension to this 24 hour society; more, social media has made instant access – all hours access – available to everyone, not just in the city that never sleeps. The End of Adventure is playing out quite nicely on the streets of America today.
One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed jumping the pond from the UK to the US is just how much more social Americans are – but not in the traditional sense. While mobile platforms and their functionality were adopted far more quickly in the UK and Europe initially, Americans are more actively involved in the everyday, on-the-ground use of social media via their phones as they go throughout their day. Using every form of social media not just to show the world what they are doing and who they are doing it with, but to find the information they need.
Yelp, in particular, is not a new concept. It has been around for ages, but pray for the business that receives a bad review - their end may be night. Be it because no one wants to waste their hard earned cash on a venue or experience that is only, well OK; or because our time is too precious to be spent at any place other than the best of venues, with an excellent happy hour, the best flat white in the city or food which worthy of an instagram mug shot - in New York, cafes, salons, Laundromats live and die by their Yelp review.
If there were ever any doubt that transparency is now integral to every business-consumer relationship, this is it. There is simply too much choice and too many new venues to wade through – very little is now left to chance. If walking down the street and in need of a quick coffee, bite to eat or a spur of the moment mani-pedi where do I turn? Even in a hurry, mediocre will just not do. So I don’t leave it to chance, I leave it to Yelp.
In fact today, not only did I look up the nearest mani-pedi salon to my home; I ensured it had received no bad reviews in the last 6 months, on any site - because you are only ever as good as your latest review. In the last week I have used online review services (why ask a friend when I can ask my phone?) to book my hair appointment, find a venue for happy hour, book dinner, “discover” a quiet, cool cafe to spend my Sunday morning reading the paper, and found a gym to join (who have very kindly provided me with a free one-week trial while I determine whether or not to jump on board). The list, as you can tell, could go on.
But these habits speak to a bigger social trend - the need to share. It is my fellow citizens – the collective of New Yorkers and tourists alike – who are banding together to make sure that not one of us need have a bad experience. Or that we are at least warned of the possibility ahead of time.
What consequences does this have for businesses? How must they now interact? Now that consumers are talking to each other, brands need to join the conversation - and they must offer complete transparency. You’ve heard this, we know. But getting the response right is critical. Brands must acknowledge where they have gone wrong, answer questions and reply to bad reviews. Talk to your consumers like friends, not as a potential sale.
People are social. Brands need to get involved.
For more on nVision US or our NY office, please contact Heather Corker – firstname.lastname@example.org