This morning the BBC reported that businesses in the UK are ambushing rivals with fake reviews, that customers are using the threat of leaving a poor review to negotiate a discount and that some review sites are failing to “take live” negative comments to give businesses a chance to resolve the matter rather than suffer a poor review.
Such is the concern about the extent of fake reviews that are now on the internet that The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to launch an investigation into the burgeoning review industry. It will report it’s finding and recommendations in 2016 but this is serious stuff with firms found to be acting illegally facing stiff fines and their directors possibly facing imprisonment!
The CMA, an important business regulator, said an initial study on the issue had “unearthed evidence that restaurants and other firms were posting fake reviews in sufficient numbers to warrant a formal investigation”. It also found that online reviews greatly influenced more than half of adult when they were shopping online.
At USB2U we sell promotional USB memory sticks. We operate in a highly competitive market and we know that many of prospective customers read reviews before placing their first order with us – why wouldn’t they, it’s common practice when buying over the internet today.
As a business that has been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for well over a decade (with a large number of customers that come back to us time and time again) we pride ourselves on the product(s) we supply and the service we offer. We, perhaps with a touch of arrogance, think our service is what differentiates us from the competition and we want someone, other than us, to promote this message – who better than our customers.
As such we encourage our customers to review us on Trustpilot. We’ve been using this service now for around 4 years and in that time we have accumulated over 3,000 reviews. We have NO control over what customers post, the score they award us, or the “taking live” of any review and nor would we want it.
Trustpilot, an independent 3rd party review service, posts ALL reviews, good or bad. If a negative review is posted (and we’ve had a few and most of them made fair comments) our recourse is to use the feedback as a learning experience and do things differently and better next time around.
We’re not perfect and we’re always learning. The feedback we get not only helps prospective customers but also us a business. Honest, open, and objective feedback is what we want and what we encourage. It’s disappointing that other businesses are apparently manipulating review sites but all we can do is reassure our customers that all of our reviews are genuine, all reviews are posted and all reviews are read and we appreciate the time and trouble customers take to post them.
We welcome the review by the CMA.