Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trusting Reviews

Looks like Internet is probably the best/easiest way to get back at any bad customer service you may have received. Of course there have been several instances with my recent favorite being "United breaks guitars". Just about everything (and everyone) from this Friday's new releases, to your college Professors are being rated, with the comments and results out in the public.

(I probably can't deny this point considering I keep track of movies I like and the books I read and "rate" them! Even though I do it more as a "bookkeeping" exercise I still end up with my "rants" on random stuff, which essentially are reviews.)

Getting back to the point I was trying to make, this is indeed a scary proposition for many (and I dont just mean the "big-companies"). Service providers must be extra careful about potential customer fallouts that may result in the next viral video (UA breaks guitars) or a negative mention in the next bestseller (French Roast in Freaknomics)! It is also important from the POV of a consumer - considering you rely on such reviews to make several decisions (and/or get influenced by them) how much "trust" can you actually place on the reviews / ratings? Consider that unhappy customers are more likely to write a negative review than happy customers are to  write a positive one. It may be easy to weed out odd/spurious reviews but add in factors such as "paid reviews" and biased reviewers. "Internet anonymity" has a lot to do with it too. There is a lot to ponder about one's (related) online habits --- both writing reviews as well as reading (and trusting) them.

May be I will ramble more on this sometime later.

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