Shoppers of all kinds, we live in an age where we can voice our opinions anytime we are mistreated by a business.
And actually be heard.
Online review sites arm us with an incredibly loud and far-reaching megaphone to voice our displeasure when we feel wronged. Whether a company intentionally takes advantage of someone or simply wasn’t on their “A-Game” on a particular day, the prominence of review websites like Trip Advisor, Yelp!, and Angie’s List make it open season on companies good and bad.
Unfortunately for some good companies out there, we human beings have a greater tendency to remember and act only when we feel we’ve been mistreated. Adequate or even above average service is still good, but in some parts of the world it’s become so commonplace that we forget show our gratitude.
What our kidneys can teach us about online reviews
If we can get anatomical for a moment, review sites are the kidneys of capitalism. Working properly those two small organs can filter 120-150 quarts of blood each day.
They do an amazing job of filtering out the bad stuff from the body as a whole, but not if all you ever feed them is rancid garbage. To maintain their effectiveness, our kidneys require that we also send some good stuff their way. Like drinking lots of clean water and getting plenty of vitamins.
Well guess what? Clean water and vitamins are to your kidneys what positive feedback is to review sites. If all we ever do is throw poison their way, they lose their integrity and their ability to regulate a properly functioning body or economy.
The power is yours, wield it
Capitalism gives anyone from any socioeconomic background the opportunity to rise through the ranks and have their hard work be recognized and compensated for. But since there are fewer bureaucrats walking around with clipboards keeping everyone in line, that job falls to you, the consumer. Quite frankly, I think you do a better job of it anyway.
But just like the bureaucrats we’re replacing, we have a tendency to focus too much on the negative, rather than the positive aspects of a business. Instead of looking for all the bad a business has to offer, try looking for the good.
Was it a genuine smile from the grocery clerk that made your day or even your hour? Did someone give you their undivided attention to help you find whatever it was you were looking for, even though they were busy? Did a company stand behind a product it sold and offer you your money back because of a defect or simply because you changed your mind?
These are all amazing things that make life worth living. Don’t you want to recognize them, and by doing so, multiply them?
Third-world return policy
Here’s some news that might surprise you. In many, indeed most countries in the world, there’s really no such thing as a “return”. You bought a shoddy product that stopped working after an hour? Deal with it, sister. I don’t even remember you coming into this store, anyway.
In most countries, there’s very little recourse for the swindled consumer. “You snooze you lose” is the name of the game. The guys with the clipboards from the government? They’ve already been paid their fee to look the other way. Which, by the way, means if you find yourself in a place where good business behavior isn’t the norm, you are even more obligated to give praise when a company goes above and beyond your expectations.
For those of us who live in places where we’ve come to expect consistently good products and service, it’s time to spread the good word. You might not realize it, but the praise received by someone or some company who does the right thing echoes throughout the world.
Sounding the alarm for fellow consumers
To be fair, there’s no reason a genuinely poor experience with a company shouldn’t be noted as vigorously as a positive experience. Companies that mistreat people, the environment, or even your favorite furry creatures, should be held accountable by us consumers. Even better, we owe it to our fellow human beings to provide ample warning before they hand over their money to a company with bad motives.
But who wants to bask in bad news all day? Do me a favor and try a simple experiment as soon as you finish reading this and leave a glowing review on your favorite review site for outstanding service you recently received at some business. If you don’t instantly feel happier and more invigorated afterward, you are a sadist. But I have a feeling you will feel happy and invigorated otherwise you wouldn’t have made it this far down the post.
Here’s three quick tips for leaving a great positive review:
- Write three positive reviews for every one negative review.
- Whenever possible, use an employee’s name and give him/her credit for their good work. You could potentially be the reason they get the raise they’ve been hoping for. Karma points, anyone?
- Be detailed. Tell a story if you have to. “Great service!!” isn’t enough. Tell people why and how, that’s how it’ll be duplicated.
Tips for negative reviews:
- Be gentle when you can. Believe it or not, most businesses are just trying to do the right thing. They just don’t always do it 100% of the time. No crucifixions necessary and those types of reviews are seldom perceived by the masses as being legitimate anyway and could get removed.
- Don’t use names in negative reviews. You never know what someone else is going through and you might end up hurting someone who was just having a bad day.
- Be open to second chances. When you write a truly bad and genuine review, a good business will reach out to you and try to make things right. Let them.
So the next time you find yourself out spending too much money, try to focus on the positive experiences you’re having. Look for the good in people who are just trying to make a living and reward the ones who do it well and make you smile.
If you own a business yourself and want to stand out with your customer service, check out Shep Hyken’s excellent book on the subject, “The Amazement Revolution“.
Editor’s note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means a small percentage of any sales made go to help fund this website. Thanks for your support.