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Sarah Drinkwater is UK Community Manager at local listings and review site Qype. 

I've been talking to Sarah about the challenges of the role, how businesses should respond to negative reviews online, and how local businesses can use Qype effectively. 

Can you describe your role at Qype? What are your typical tasks & duties?

I’m the community manager for Qype’s UK site, so I’m in charge of a team working to keep Qypers happy! That involves overseeing our editorial content (including newsletters, blogs and social media), moderation, engagement and organising real-world events. 

Day to day, my work varies hugely. Right now, I’m organising our summer party (keep an eye on our Twitter if you’d like to come along) and putting together a top-secret proposal for a partnership and competition with a great brand. 

It is a really busy job, especially because we engage with our community both online and offline, running regular events across the UK. 

What are the major challenges associated with your role? Is much of your time taken up with moderation? How do you approach this issue? 

In general, the biggest challenge with community management is that it’s such a new role, and one which seems to vary hugely from company to company. Some community managers work mostly in moderation and customer support, and others are essentially out there acting as the brand at all times.

I’ve been called everything from an editor (as an ex-journalist, this is a term I can handle!) to a brand advocate, but I think the truth is that any community manager has to be a jack of all trades. 

As our site’s so large, we do, as a team, spend a lot of time on moderation, whether it’s deleting inappropriate content, answering every feedback email or just making sure Qypers are heard. 

How is Qype doing in the UK? Can you share some numbers? 

I can only give out European-wide figures, I’m afraid. Last month, we had 42m page views, 20m visits and 17m unique users. As the UK is Qype’s second largest site, I think it’s fair to say we’re having a really good year so far!  

How are people using Qype? What is the split between mobile and desktop? 

Right now, it’s about 90% desktop and 10% mobile, but the skew towards mobile is growing every day. Our mobile and app statistics are just what you’d expect; peak times are weekends and evenings with users performing hyper-local searches. 

What do you do to encourage user interaction and feedback on Qype? 

In terms of user feedback, we try to be as easy to access as possible and every new user is added to either mine or one of my team’s profiles so they can contact us with any questions or problems.

It takes time to reply to every single user email we get but it’s worth it. With no community, we’d have no Qype. 

Encouraging user interaction is simple, really, as most people love sharing their opinion. This week for example, we’ve been crowdsourcing the best burger joints in Ireland, just in case Obama got homesick. 

What kinds of advice can you give businesses when it comes to responding to feedback and criticism they receive online?

The main thing is you can’t ignore it. The recession has meant that consumers are increasingly fussy about how and where they spend their hard-earned pennies.

Add our love of sharing our opinion, and the popularity of a user generated review site like Qype is obvious, users want to reward great places or services and publicly criticise bad ones.

Businesses are often shocked that they’ve been added to the site but that’s why reputation management is essential. Your customers are talking about you whether you like or not, so responding is always best. If you claim your business listing (which is free), the system notifies you whenever you get a review.

I always advise businesses not to get emotional. It’s never fun hearing something critical, especially if it’s your business and you’re working your heart out, but remember that everyone’s subjective and no company is 100% every day.

Always respond gracefully, and remember this is a great chance to get some honest feedback and make your business even better.

The most successful businesses on our site are the ones that don’t just talk but listen, so they have videos and discount vouchers on their profile but, if there’s a bad review, they’ll reply rather than ignore it, and turn that customer around.

For me, the key to gaining new customers (and Qypers, for us) is to treat your existing customers well.

What sort of role do you play in trying to promote honest feedback while preventing reviews that business owners might claim are false or even libelous?

We have terms and conditions in place to protect us, users and businesses, and we do our best to keep the site free of spam, fake reviews, offensive language or libelous content. Beyond that, moderation is such a subtle thing and it often boils down to one person’s word against another’s. 

I have to use my judgement on a case-by-case basis, but my main priority is making sure users have their say, within our terms and conditions. To be honest, sometimes the way a user or business contacts me helps me work out whether their claims are likely or not. 

What are some of the ways businesses can use Qype to drive customer acquisition? 

Well, setting up a profile on Qype is free, which is brilliant for small businesses that can’t afford to set up their own website but still want to be online and found via search.

On the premium listing, your profile becomes a micro-site on Qype, with links to your social channels, video, PDFs, event listings and access to analytics so you can see how many clicks you’ve got.

Adding a discount or special deal voucher to your profile works across both the site and our mobile app, so you can reach customers at the point of consumption.  

Our real world events also help introduce businesses who get the importance of online to our community of potential customers. For example, we did an event with the Hackney supper club Fernandez and Leluu and, a year on, it’s still so popular with Qypers that it’s rated on the site as one of London’s best restaurants. 

What advice would you give to other community managers? 

Nothing beyond the obvious, really: I try to listen as well as talk, talk well and always put our community first! 

Putting a personality behind the profile is important, too, which is why it’s best to find a brand you can be passionate about. Something incredibly dry might not be a natural fit for my personality but having a right to reply and finding cool places across the UK? I can definitely work with that.

Graham Charlton

Published 26 May, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (12)

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Steve Ollington

Sarah, could I please get your comments on what QYPE have done/are doing my company? We were mis-sold and have experienced disgraceful customer services in trying to cancel. So much so that I started videoing the calls on hands-free as evidence. We now have 16 videos, one of which I sent in to the cancellations department as proof that we were mis-sold, yet they still will not let us cancel and say that the videos are illegal.

We should be allowed to cancel and be given a full refund. We have been treated terribly, and QYPE does not seem to be very community focused at all since we ourselves are a social media marketing provider and have explained that we will do our utmost to warn others about QYPE.

Our experience with QYPE is that they have no moral values or principles. We are preparing a campaign to publish and promote all videos to show the dishonesty, unreliability and rudeness we were treated with.

about 5 years ago

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michael roberts

I've been treated in exactly the same way by Qype as Steve above. They lied on the phone to sell me a "premium listing" and then denied doing so. They said I could have a free month's trial - a lie! They said if I didn't get 1,500 clicks on my website a month then I'd get my money back - another lie. When I phoned up to complain they were incredibly rude and condescending. The whole experience has left me incredibly angry!

DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!

about 5 years ago

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Joanne Hole

I have also had horrendous experience of QYPE. I was mis-sold and when I tried to cancel was told I couldn't. I was quoted £46 and charged over £600. I have telephone, written and emailed and no response. QYPE have even had the cheek to try and take another £1k from my bank account, luckily the fraud department stopped the payment.
I have had 18 visits to my business page in 12 months and one enquiry.
I want my money back.
I have started to warn people via Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter not to use QYPE, I urge others to do the same.

about 5 years ago

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Russ Gann

I've been kinda holding out for Sarah or somebody from Qype to respond to this before I spend any money.

I'm sure there must be happy customers but it also says a lot to me if the complaints are dealt with. I will watch this space!

about 5 years ago

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William Tan

i was promised i would be at the top of all the search engines and would have well made the money to pay for the service, iv not had one single phonecall!!! i was also tricked into accepting the terms and conditions, she said am just sending over an email just click accept and i will sort everything out for you. there saying she's on holiday and i have to wait till she comes back to see what she says as the calls arnt recorded, doubt she's going to admit that though, we'll see what happens!! not happy at all!!

about 5 years ago

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Craig

Loving the feedback :-)

Might be time to address your role there Sarah, or find a better employer!

almost 5 years ago

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Constantin

Qype is not only rude to the businesses, but also to the members of the public.Thy Hide behind "qype team" signature, behave outrageously rude and all the complaints - they just ignore even on a blank point. Sarah obviously is sitting on two chairs.

But does she has a license for it?

almost 5 years ago

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debra wilson

I to am another very unhappy so called customer of qype. I was told i would have my own domain name and web site all for £480 for the year,. I asked can i at a later date add to my web site so that i can have an online shop, yes Bradley said. We do all this for you so you can just relax and we set everything up for you. Set up more like ive been set up. He did explain that to cancel i would have to wait until month 5 then do a 30 day notice to cancel ( why would i cancel when qype is supplying it all for me) Ya right what a total rip off. I have phoned and actually got to speak to them to be told but you have a web site through us , when i said but i was promissed my own domain name i was told no thats something totally different. I said to them plus in letters and e-mails i have sent them that i want a full refund as they havent given me the service they said i would get, and that it was mis sold to me. All i get is them saying i have to wait 5 month before i can do this, and that i did agree to their terms and conditons. Well yes i did but my arguement with them is that i agreed but they havent given me what i agreed to. I have also been to my bank , CAB , have phoned consumer complaints , have e-mailed Dom off the tv from dont get done get dome. I have also e-mailed watch dog. But as yet i havent had any luck at getting my money back . How do they sleep at night knowing that they are ripping us all off. I know im not sleeping through the stress of all this. How would they feel if i sold them something from my shop that didnt work or do what its suppose to do. Im sure they would want their money back.

over 4 years ago

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Tara

Has anyone actually managed to get a response from people like Watchdog / Don't Get Done, Get Dom? My partner just got completely screwed in a hardsell from Qype, they're offering services that there is no way they can provide, surely they can be done for false advertising??

over 4 years ago

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Corinne Gittens

My experience is exactly the same as the above, a load of lies and promises that are impossible to keep. Plus Qype took money out of my account TWICE without permission,depsite the fact that i have no recurring payment agreement with them. BEWARE! DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR CARD DETAILS OR THEY WILL RETAIN YOUR DETAILS AND TAKE MONEY OUT OF YOUR ACCOUNT THAT IS NOT DUE TO THEM AND THAT YOU DO NOT OWE THEM!!!!!

over 4 years ago

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gavin

like everyone else i@m totally disgusted with qype. i was attracted to them with there free advertising. next thing i know im being hassled by there sales team to be part of there campaign. They promised me 500 jobs to quote on for £ 280.00. So far ive had no phonecalls in 5 monthes. when i spoke them they told me that it wasnt 500 jobs it was based on clicks on my website which according to them is over 150. It just seems to me to be a complete con how do i know ive had 150 clicks and i bet if that is true that half of them are me. think i might call them after the holiday to have another rant for whatever its worth. not happy!!!!

about 4 years ago

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suzy

yup.. need to find the role there...

over 3 years ago

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