Something companies are having us do

Have you noticed the latest trend in the world of shopping and commerce?

A few years ago, companies were encouraging us to like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. (They still do today, though not as often given that avid internet users know by now that virtually every business has jumped on the social media bandwagon.)

Now, they're pushing us to review them on sites like Yelp.

But, as the saying goes, they ought to be careful what they wish for.

I have had unpleasant experiences at various restaurants and retail establishments in the past year, and I've had no qualms about airing these sentiments on said websites.

In fact, many consumers are more inclined to rate and review a company following a bad experience than a favorable one.

A preponderance of either negative or positive reviews, however, should raise red flags. For example, a disproportionate number of 5-star reviews coming from accounts with only one or two reviews to their name means something is amiss. Chances are, someone has furtively paid someone else to post overly positive reviews in order to bolster the company's overall rating and reputation.

I suppose encouraging customers to write a review has its upside: Even if the feedback is negative, it'll give the company a sense of what they have to improve upon.

I've also been noticing employees -- whether marketing directors or those in general management -- frequently responding to the comments themselves. When the feedback is positive, they reply with a warm thanks; when it's negative, they apologize and in some cases provide their contact information so that the disgruntled customer can get in touch. (Sometimes, if they're lucky, a refund or free meal can ensue!)

I had such a good experience with my new dentist earlier this year that I left him a glowing review on Yelp.

Unless the experience is magnificent or abysmal, though, I'm not likely to take the time to review the company. A "meh" experience won't drive me to Yelp -- that's for sure.

Do you rate and review companies on sites like Yelp? Why or why not?  Are you more likely to do it following a positive experience, negative experience, or neither?

No comments: