Have you ever bought a book or piece of material just because of what people said about it? Are our choices influenced by the review of others? Have you tried to imagine what goes on in the mind of people when we air our views about their products?
Let me share this story:
I had stumbled upon a screenshot posted by a writer about a review by a reader who felt that the book written by that writer was hyped. He also expressed his disappointments in the book not meeting his expectations at the same time citing the person who recommended the said book to him.
In life, we all view things differently and approach situations in unique ways too. For me, one of the things I do is that I compensate for not being able to go to certain places to ‘people watch’ by reading comments on social media. It was on one of such occasions that I developed interest in the story I just shared. As I scanned the comments section of that reader’s review, I saw mostly individuals who pander towards the writer conjuring every sentiment to denigrate the reader’s review. However, I have a somewhat different approach.
Whenever I hear about a book, one of the first places I visit is the platform where it is sold. It could be a social media platform or a website. I also do this on platforms like Amazon Kindle, Barns and Noble amongst others. One of the things that pique my interest is the reviews section. I may not really intend to buy the book but I still open myself to the possibility of buying when I take other things into consideration.
Most of the time, I spend more time on book reviews than on reviews related to any other good. When you read some of these book reviews, it’s so informative and enlightening. Some reviews are so detailed that you will be able to make a more informed decision on buying the book or material.
Truly, reviews don’t always have to be emblazoned with five stars. If they are, it facilitates the atmosphere for suspicion. It’s either the reviews were bought (which does happen) on the currency of sycophancy and corporate insincerity, or the review smacks of downright collusion. Even at that, there’s so much to learn from detailed reviews.
On the other hand, negative reviews are not always negative in the real sense. I agree many can be ruthless, malicious and motivated by other forms of negativity, but there’s something in there too. Personally, I have bought books after reading negative reviews. In many cases, I read both negative and positive reviews to strike a balance before going ahead to place the order. In these cases, there are negative reviews that are obviously uninformed or weightless. What matters is that I don’t get to allow emotions to determine my decisions.
Back to our story.
Not ‘meeting expectations’ and ‘being hype’ imply anything but malice. It could be a costly joke or sarcasm at its finest. I think the writer should try to understand what the reader is trying to say.
Many times, inappropriate communication is a major challenge for certain individuals. The intent of the messenger may be highly mistaken despite the content of the message. Unless, there’s a previous history between the writer and this particular reader, I align with the neutrals.
However, must the review say ‘ You are good’ or ‘this is great value’ as we the citizens of Facebookia and Instagramia would say?
What should be our attitude towards reviews?
1) If we believe learning can be obtained from both the young and old, we ought to be open minded when people air their views about our products. I say this on a general assumption that the reviewers mean well.
2) We have to appreciate the fact that thought leaders or content celebrities are subject to “not everyone is your audience” or even “your audience wouldn’t love you equally.” In this case, poor reviews would have been from people who shouldn’t be your customers in the first place.
3) The consumer or client is entitled to share their reviews. If we aren’t comfortable to speak, make an honest criticism or point out something, provided the information is passed across with confidence, without emotion and meant to encourage mutuality, then we are no better than those members of the congregation who don’t question their religious leaders. They will lazily and ignorantly find alibi on ‘touch not my anointed’ as if asking questions will attract the wrath of God through crushing hailstones and eviscerating wildfire. Moreso, we have political leaders who are unaware their allergies and phobia for criticisms are now pathological emergencies on their own.
If we aren’t comfortable to speak, make an honest criticism or point out something, provided the information is passed across with confidence, without emotion and meant to encourage mutuality, then we are no better than those members of the congregation who don’t question their religious leaders. They will lazily and ignorantly find alibi on ‘touch not my anointed’ as if asking questions will attract the wrath of God through crushing hailstones and eviscerating wildfire.
What do reviews imply?
1) Reviews help to keep entrepreneurs on their feet. In this case, entrepreneurs could be a writer, Nollywood celebrity or one who offers value in exchange for money. One aspect of making leaders of thought and others accountable is to be assertive. Reviews are the voices of the clients. Good service providers would want to hear the voices of their clients.
2) Reviews encourage interactive buyer-seller interactions. One may unfurl diverse sub plots from this but we have to equally remember to put things in perspective.
3) Inasmuch as a review isn’t a sales copy, nevertheless, it can still boost sales. We can castigate or expose such reviews (like above) to ridicule from here to Jerusalem but we should not fail to look at each based on individual merits.
When it comes specifics on responding to positive reviews:
a) Appreciate the client.
b) Emphasis the review.
c) Return the favour (compliment).
d) You can tell them you look forward to another deal.
e) Chip in your other products or services.
When it comes to specifics for negative reviews:
a) Respond as soon as possible.
b) Be cordial and professional.
c) You may need to go offline to speak with the client, say email.
d) If the reviews are probably misleading or fake, you may need to pull them down.
e) Encourage more reviews.
Embrace reviews. There are times you just have to sieve the wheat from the chaff. In the long run, they help rather than hurt you.