April 2010 Issue
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Handling Competition

by Cynthia Fazekas

A little competition keeps us sharp.

TeaMap is a website listing tearooms sponsored by Adagio Teas. Tearooms are added by tearoom owners or patrons and can be located by zip code, state or name look-up. It provides a wonderful resource for the tea seeker looking for a tearoom and free marketing for the tearoom purveyor just for participating. Tearoom patrons can leave reviews and upload pictures from their tearoom experiences.

TeaMap also provides a ranking for tearooms. We get many questions about how these ranks are determined. First, we would like to say that none of us here at Adagio Teas providing this ranking. Through a complex algorithm the TeaMap computer uses various sources of data to calculate a tearoom's ranking. One of the key things it does include is the number and quality of reviews a tearoom receives. There are many other factors considered as well but we believe it is best to not reveal so they cannot be manipulated.

That having been said, we have noticed some tearooms owners are - shall we say - obsessed with these rankings? Keeping an eye on your competition is a good idea but if you find yourself checking TeaMap morning, noon and night, you might want to take a deep breath. Ok, did you do that? Good. Should your tearoom be ranked less than numero uno, it is not the end of the world. It certainly does not mean that everyone who is looking to visit a tearoom is ONLY going to visit the number one in your area. People will try different tearooms and regardless of the rankings will prefer the one that best suits them. That could very well be your tearoom. Keep in mind that reviews are very subjective, each person has their own expectations and tastes.

Instead of wasting energy fretting about what your competitor is doing to get a high ranking, it is better to direct it towards things where it will make a difference. Focus on your offerings, service and even your TeaMap overview. Accurately describing what people can expect when they visit your place will help set up them for a pleasant experience and avoid disappointment.

If you do spend time on TeaMap, reading reviews across the country you can see the most frequent negative reviews involve quality for price, service and using teabags versus loose leaf. These are much better places to direct your attention. It is all about the experience of the customer! Don't lose sight of that. With time and patience, the cream, as they say, rises to the top!