So why leave a review?
Recently I was re-reading an article from a few years ago focused on the reasons consumers leave reviews and one part of it perfectly expressed an element that is isn’t given the attention that it deserves – that we leave feedback because we feel empowered in doing so and that it satisfies a need to express ourselves. Well, of course it does! More than that it allows us to contribute in a space that id all to often strange and anonymous and allows us to leave our own particular mark.
“Essentially, reviews offer consumers a public outlet to voice their opinion. Reviews provide consumers a chance to tell their side of the story and have it heard by their peers and the businesses being reviewed.
‘Consumers feel empowered as their opinions put bad companies to shame, highlight companies that stand out amongst the crowd, and more broadly contribute to improving businesses everywhere. (Source: “Why do people write reviews?”, 18 May, 2021, Trustpilot).
We all want to be heard, it’s an essential part of who we are and as customers that can be difficult. All to often, communicating directly with a business can be difficult – just try calling a major company and whiling the minutes away on hold listening to muzak you’d rather avoid. If we have issues or concerns there are convoluted measures designed to deter us – online contact forms, ‘live chat’ features that are painfully slow and inadequate. All this leads to frustration and the feeling that you’re not only not being heard but prevented from talking in the first place.
That’s where online reviews come in because we can contribute, be listened too, valued, and in many cases a business that has previously ignored us suddenly pays attention – that’s often the answer to the question ‘why we leave a review’. We can talk with our family and friends and share experiences, give referrals, and suggest companies to avoid but by sharing those insights online through reviews we are seen and ‘heard’ by substantially more people.
Before online reviews in New Zealand the only public media vehicle for expressing concern was on television programmes such as Fair Go, which in essence was designed to entertain rather than inform and educate. Even then, the issues raised were a pale reflection of the thousands of letters they must have received from aggrieved customers.
The desire to write, to ‘speak’, to be noticed, doesn’t only concern negative criticisms. We want to share good experiences, we want to be a part of a programme that allows others to benefit from what we have experienced. In that way, we become a part of an online community, we are valued, what we think and contribute matters.