Be constructive, not negative in reviews
Published 9:20 am Monday, May 23, 2016
Do you leave reviews for your favorite spaces and places? In the olden days we had to rely on newspaper advertisements and radio advertisements to find if the places we wanted to shop or dine were good establishments to visit. Or businesses had to rely on the word-of-mouth of customers who had used their establishment.
Things have changed and now businesses and other venues can be reviewed online by those who loved their services or did not have a good experience. Places such as Yelp.com, Angieslist.com, tripadvisor.com and many others, along with the buzz of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and the other gazillion sites out there will tell you the ups and downs of places and products. And if you are a business in a small community and think you are safe from these reviews — well think again — you are probably listed somewhere out there.
Most businesses now have their own websites and Facebook pages and customers also leave reviews on these pages. Can you rely on these reviews?
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Recently a friend and I were in Shakopee, and we were dining out. We chose a restaurant in downtown Shakopee. We checked out the reviews and most were positive. Many stated fast service.
We arrived and the place was packed and very busy. We were on a tight schedule and thought perhaps we wouldn’t be served and out in time to make our movie. The reviews were right. We had excellent, fast service and our waitress was outstanding. She earned a big tip. In that case the reviews could be trusted.
In the olden days when we wanted to check out a product we possibly would buy the Consumer Reports Magazine. These days, if we want to investigate a product we can go online and find the reviews for the model we want to buy. I always check the reviews before I buy. As an author, book reviews on my books by my readers are very important to me. If I want to advertise my book on a book site or in a magazine, the key to acceptance in many places are the reviews on your books and the number of reviews you have. So for me and other authors, reviews are important.
Bigger companies take reviews seriously. I have a friend who reviews products for companies that are sold on Amazon. The companies send her products; she reviews them on Amazon honestly and reveals she has been given a product to review. I know I can trust her reviews.
When you are reading reviews on anything, please take the time to consider those reviews and the person making the statements. A product, website or even books that have 100 percent five star reviews are not always what they seem. Can all people love the products? A few bad reviews are not necessarily a bad thing. It means the reviews are by real consumers and not a paid review. Yes, there are places where you can pay to buy reviews.
When reading a bad review, take time to investigate who is leaving the review and why; there are people out there who leave bad reviews just to leave bad reviews. There are people out there who don’t like any products. Also a review is one person’s opinion.
For instance, two and three star reviews on movies and books do not always deter me. I look at the reviewer’s history of reviews and see perhaps the items this person gave three star reviews to be because their taste was of different genres than the movie or book being reviewed. They have different tastes.
I myself would not give a five-star review to a bloody, gory movie or to a graphic book. It is not my cup of tea. But my review would be constructive rather than destructive. Always remember there is a person behind the product and they have feelings too especially if you are reviewing a book or a blog.
Reviews are also a way businesses can improve their services if the review is fair and constructive. For instance, I have had some landscape work done and I am not exactly a happy camper. I feel I am not being listened to. When all is said and done I will leave a review online but I won’t trash the people or the business but I will leave constructive comments that may help them improve other people’s experience with this company. The thing to remember is this is my experience; someone else may have had a great experience with the same company.
The same can be said for other businesses that get a bad review — perhaps the business was just having an off day or the customer was having an off day.
If I positively do not like a book and don’t finish it I don’t leave a review at all. It might not have been my cup of tea but someone else will love it.
The best negative review I received on one of my books was this, “The author must have scrambled eggs for brains. She writes like Dr. Seuss.” I loved this person’s negativity.
Review away, make someone’s day. Be positive or constructive but don’t be destructive.
Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at email@example.com. Her Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/julie.