In the past few years, New Providence has seen a growth of small businesses, which is great news for not only the business owners, but also for our residents and visitors. Local businesses support community events, such as the Independence Day Celebration and Summer Concert Series, contribute generously to school and civic fundraising activities, and help keep our downtown safe and vibrant.
Since our community reaps the benefits from having local businesses, we should do everything we can to help them thrive and grow. This includes shopping in our local stores instead of their big box competitors, recommending New Providence stores to friends and neighbors, and developing relationships with the owners and staff. With the evolution of the Internet and business review websites, such as Yelp, Yahoo, Google Reviews, Angie’s List, and Facebook, people have been given the power to influence local businesses to a degree that has never before been available. Online reviews provide a powerful tool for consumers, but it’s one that should be used judiciously.
Customers and clients should take a moment to reconsider before posting harsh comments online. These reviews can be the death of a small business. It is very tempting to go online and blast a business if something wasn’t handled in a way that we would like, but there are more productive ways of handling those situations. Mistakes do happen. Often, the business owner is unaware of a particular situation or incident, and would like nothing more than the opportunity to correct it. By speaking directly with the business owners, you can help them better understand the issue at hand, give them an opportunity to rectify the situation, and allow them to train their staff on how to handle those situations differently. In the end, that provides a more satisfying long term solution to the problem and preserves the hard earned reputations and integrity of our local businesses. Customers are more satisfied, staff is better trained, and our local business community thrives.
“One of the goals of New Providence Business is to foster a thriving local business environment in town,” said Michelle Brugger, Business Community Spokesperson. “This goal can’t be achieved if people use online resources to criticize our local businesses. These business owners are our residents, our neighbors, and most importantly, our friends. They are deeply invested in our community and want to provide the best service possible. In return, they deserve our respect and regard.”
Please take a moment to consider the impact that a negative comment or review can have on not only the small business, but also on the larger business community. A strong local economy helps build community cohesiveness and provides more local jobs for our neighbors and kids. The same people who complain online about local businesses are often the first ones to then complain when there are empty storefronts. So the next time you have an issue, pull the owner or manager aside to try to resolve the situation before you go online to complain. And when you do have a great experience, go ahead and give them a shout-out online. We will all benefit.