We here at Worldline are relatively new to this whole “social thing,” and having spent years with our heads down, working hard at keeping our existing customers happy while acquiring new ones, there is plenty that we’ve missed online.
Search engines like Google and Bing or review sites like Yelp or Redflagdeals provide prime Internet real-estate for folks to rant about how bad they think a company is – all with essentially zero accountability.
When we read these, the first thing we do (now), is figure out if they are our customer, and if they are, we get in touch and fix the problem. If you go to our Facebook page, you’ll see plenty of cases where we’ve resolved an issue, and in the end we’re both happy. Problem solved.
However, there are these other “reviews” from mystery posters. People who sound like they are just making stuff up. Who are they exactly? What is their agenda? Who do they work for? Those are the questions that pop to the front of our minds – because in most cased they are talking about us in a way that doesn’t sound a lot, or even a little, like us.
They’re complaining about our overcharging them (when our prices have never been anything like what they are saying), or us forcing them into signing a contract, (which we don’t have), or us charging a cancellation fee, (which we don’t do) or my favourite, us charging too much for Cable TV (a service we don’t, as yet, have).
There have long been reports and rumours of businesses posting negative reviews of their competitors’ products or companies, but according to the LA Times, new research shows that now, more than ever, people are writing extremely negative reviews about products they never purchased.
Duncan Simester, a marketing professor at MIT, and Eric Anderson of Northwestern University did a study based on reviews posted on the website of a major private-label apparel company that generates hundreds of thousands of reviews.
The duo found that about 5% of the product reviews were written by customers with no record of actually purchasing the item. Those reviews were “significantly more negative” than the remaining reviews.
For Worldline, whose reputation is everything, this is a problem because studies show that 72% of consumers say they believe the reviews posted online. We also know that people looking for Unlimited High Speed Internet and Digital Home Phone services are searching online.
In just a few minutes a new one of these reviews, truthful or not, can hurt the excellent reputation that we have spent years developing and frankly, earning.
It’s a problem we are now confronting head on, challenging those that are, simple put, nonsense, and dealing with those who do have a legitimate point on a case by case basis.
We guess the bottom line is, when you’re online doing research, never believe everything you read.*
* except for here of course.