Many businesses ask for instant feedback from customers on their company computers and post these online.
Two years ago, unable to verify that they were genuine, Google deleted virtually all customers' reviews of auto dealerships that were sent from dealerships' computers. The result was that many dealerships lost hundreds of positive reviews.
Many quick-lube centres ask their customers to give their opinion on the service while they're waiting for their vehicle. It may be only a matter of time before Google picks up on companies who do this.
In an effort to circumvent the Google problem, General Motors has asked its associate Reputation.com to ask customers to write their reviews in the stores but post them from home.
Although GM's strategy avoids fictitious reviews from dealers, it is clearly asking customers to provide feedback at the point of purchase rather than allowing them to choose to write a review in private at home, without any pressure.
It is a question of which kind of review consumers value. And, would they even know how and when the review was completed? This has to be balanced by the potential for commercial sabotage by competitors posing as consumer reviewers. However, savvy internet users will generally look for review trends rather than individual reviews.
Published 8th April, 2014
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