This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
negative reviews about Shimla Cottage purely to evoke an entertaining response. But is his bark worse than his bite? With a certain degree of trepidation, Curry Life contacted Mr Ahmed by phone. Surprisingly (disappointingly even!) we discovered that a more gently spoken, reasonable and courteous man would be hard to find. Mr Ahmed pointed out that his restaurant has an average of four out of five stars based on 362 reviews on one well known restaurant review site which perhaps rightly justifies his exasperation with a minority of reviewers. “People post a bad review and restaurateurs will hide under the bed and hope it goes away,” he commented. “Of course a genuine complaint is a good thing and anyone running a business should take note of that. If, say, a customer highlights a genuine problem then you should set about rectifying that problem and providing feedback to the customer.” He admits that the publicity stemming from reports in national newspapers have had a surprising effect. “The story broke in the Daily Mail and we immediately had around 30 to 40,000 views on our facebook page and thousands more on other sites like The LADbible,” he explains. “Most people were quite supportive, especially our regular customers. If this had been a city centre restaurant, maybe the publicity would have had a bad impact, but as it is, we’ve been in business here for 16 to 17 years. We know our customers well and they know us. They know that the core of our business is customer satisfaction and dedication to high standards. There is a good atmosphere here, we are a busy restaurant so there’s

plenty of hustle and bustle but we also look after our customers with a good service, consistently good food.” Trip Advisor’s reaction to the publicity engendered by Mr Ahmed’s withering replies was, in his view, one sided. “The response of Trip Adviser was not fair in the sense that if you go back you’ll find that most of our replies to bad reviews have been deleted, which shows how biased they are. Suddenly, they did not meet the criteria but if a customer puts a bad or fake review on, it’s up there straight away. We’ve tried contacting TripAdvisor but it’s like hitting out head against a brick wall. “But overall we have a very good star rating. Most of the negative reviews are vindictive attacks by competitors or by people trying to get compensation in some form or other. And sometimes people expect something for nothing. For example, we offer a three course lunch for £3.50 which is an unbeatable price, but some diners don’t seem to take this into account.” By offering food at such low prices at Shimla Cottage, perhaps Mr Ahmed is devaluing the product, in effect shooting himself in the foot. “No, I don’t think so,” he answered. “The lunch is more of an advertisement than a money making thing. It brings more customers through the door and they might come back another time for an evening meal. I find it works better than expensive advertising. “No matter how much you do, people can still go home and upload a bad review not realizing that this is someone’s livelihood. People can say what they want – it’s social media. I can’t change that but I need to work with it.”

TripAdvisor’s advice

On their website TripAdvisor reserves the right to remove a review or management response at any time, for any reason. When posting a management response, TripAdvisor stipulate that it must be: “Family Friendly: No profanity, threats, prejudiced comments, hate speech or other non-family-friendly content. Unique and independent: one response per review posted on our site. Original: No quoted material from other sources, no hearsay and no material published elsewhere. This includes correspondence from a guest or other third party. Professional: Management responses are posted below the review you specify when you write the response. They are read by general TripAdvisor users; therefore, they should be written in a manner that is representative of the customer service policies of your business. Relevant to all TripAdvisor users: No personal insults or irrelevant comments of a personal nature. Management responses may not threaten or coerce a reviewer, or attempt to suppress reviewer contributions to our site. No accusations of review fraud. Respectful of Personal Privacy: No speculation as to the identity of the reviewer. Personal information of any person, including names, addresses, phone numbers or other information that may be used to identify an individual is prohibited. As regards checking customer posts the TripAdvisor says:


“We have a team of moderators that examine questionable reviews. We also use automated tools on the site that help flag questionable content for review, and our large and passionate community of millions of travelers keep an eye out on our site as well. “Occasionally, an inappropriate review may slip through the cracks. In these rare cases our members can report the material to us, helping maintain the high quality content of our site.” They also comment: “TripAdvisor has millions of reviews and more than one million hotels, restaurants and attractions, therefore it would be impractical for us to fact check the details of reviews. “As long as the review meets our guidelines, we’re happy to post it whether it’s positive or negative. The majority of our reviews are indeed positive, but we do not influence of change the content of reviews.”

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60