"Talk to the Manager" Fights Passive-Aggressive Anonymous Reviews With Anonymous Texts
In light of Yelp extortionists and other less-than-awesome experiences at restaurants across the nation, perhaps there is a market for Talk to the Manager, a new service that provides anonymous communication between consumers and the restaurants they eat at.
Brett L./Flickr Talk to the Manager seeks to avoid these gory but historical confrontations.
TTTM acts as a digital middlemen between customers on a business and the manager and owner of the business. Customers can text their issue to a number TTTM provides, and that message is sent to both the manager and owner of a particular business. As TTTM notes on its page, this avoids the use of suggestion cards that may "accidentally" be thrown away or lost. The manager/owner can then address a customer's complaint and respond to it directly. If the faux Yelp review in the company's sales literature is to be believed, this feedback loop will cause customers to post five-star reviews on Yelp exclaiming how responsive the business is to their needs.
Because all these interactions are anonymized through TTTM's service, both the customer and the manager are, theoretically, protected from each other. TTTM also allows restaurant owners to selectively block texts from specific accounts. This means a restaurant owner can prevent one irate customer from blowing up his or her phone at all hours of night, and it prevents restaurant owners/managers from screaming incoherently into a customer's personal voice mail.
As mentioned earlier, the marketed purpose of all this is to head off anonymous customer complaints before they become one-star Yelp reviews or tweets under hashtag #YourRestaurantIsBadandYouShouldFeelBad.
The catch is that the service costs $15 a month for 500 messages. The catch within that catch, politely explained in the FAQ: Every message that passes through TTTM counts against the total.
At a minimum, one customer feedback generates at least three messages. A response to a customer generates two, and so forth. Better hope you've kept your texting skills up to speed because a couple of lengthy conversations could quickly eat into your monthly allotment of texts. That said, even if you go over, each additional text only costs $0.015 which sounds very reasonable.