When is the last time you hired a home contractor, visited a new physician, or hired a babysitter without doing some research or talking to someone you trust? Hopefully, never. How about the last time you purchased a product online without reading the reviews? Hopefully, rarely – unless the online store has an excellent return policy!
Still, so many of us will make purchases or hire people and not leave reviews. We tend to only head straight to writing reviews when we are absolutely dissatisfied, which floods the internet with a gross amount of negativity, and perhaps unwarranted bias. While negative reviews are important, especially if they are warranted, we need to start leaving positive reviews, as well. Consumers, we need to change this attitude of apathy into progress.
Reviews have several functions, but only one seems obvious – it’s an opportunity to use passive-aggressive behavior to let the retailer/service provider know how we feel. But, there are many other reasons why honest reviews are powerful: 1) They allow the next consumer to make a smarter purchase, 2) They help the retailer understand what is working and not working in their store, 3) If the retailer is responsible, they allow the retailer to offer impeccable customer service, 4) Strong reviews will offer information about the consumer, so the next consumer can decide if he/she is an appropriate fit for the product or service, 5) They offer opportunity for growth to service providers and retailers by extending the traditional word-of-mouth.
Here’s what got me thinking about reviews. I recently attended a friend’s wedding in New York City, and she is a very dear, old friend of mine, who I know put tons of money and effort into creating a beautiful wedding. She was wildly successful – the music was great, the ceremony was beautiful and organized, the flowers were perfectly coordinated, the view was spectacular, but despite all of her evident efforts, her banquet hall showed a level of disrespect that was atrocious. They, quite literally, pulled the chair from beneath me as I was finishing the cake, and started folding it up. Took our stuff off of the table, and started clearing out. I was appalled. Not just because of how I, and the other guests, were being treated, but because I know, quite certainly, my friend was mortified on her wedding day. I went home infuriated, and despite how exhausted I was, I flipped on my computer and proceeded to write this horrific review on Yelp and Trip Advisor. What I didn’t do, as I reflected the next day, was review how beautiful the flowers were and how awesome the DJ was. I thought back to my own wedding, and I was sure to review every aspect of it I could, whether it was amazing, or not, and I wondered why I didn’t, on a regular basis, do this for everything?
After much self-reflection, I decided to peruse through Candle Moments’ website, and I realized that I didn’t have any reviews on specific products. I started looking through our other review sites. We have two glowing reviews on Yelp, but they’re “not recommended”. We have a few happy Facebook comments, but again, just a few. I started to doubt myself, until I started reading reviews from my every-day retailers, and realized they didn’t have many either. Then you take a big-box retailer, such as eBay, who makes it a part of their culture to leave reviews. And it came to me – it’s a culture.
Our culture is built upon our freedom of speech, and you can essentially Google anything, and someone will have something to say about it, but people don’t leave reviews. Do we feel it’s a waste of time? If the products are good, then there’s no point in saying anything? Do we just use reviews as an opportunity for a soap-box? I can’t say for certain why some people opt to leave reviews, and why some don’t, but I know I will certainly make a concerted effort to review everything from now on. The internet is powerful, we all know this, but without our voice, it’s just white noise.
Are you a reviewer? Share your experiences and opinions below!