Some Companies Apparently Pay Attention To Your Online Complaints

When you go to Twitter, Facebook, an online forum or any other form of social media to voice a complaint about a product or service you’ve purchased, one can understandably be left with the feeling that no matter how loud they shout, no one is listening. However, some businesses say they are monitoring all those negative posts and reviews and a few claim to be making systemic changes in response.

For example, L.L. Bean says that any of its products that receive overwhelmingly negative online reviews will be taken off the market and undergo a process to improve it. The company claims that it also monitors reviews to identify trends that may indicate a manufacturer’s defect.

The Bean folks tell the Wall Street Journal they recently replace 6,300 sheet sets after negative reviews helped the company single out the cause of the sheets’ unraveling.

“Before, it would have taken us months and months to figure out if something was wrong with the product through returns, if we ever would have known at all,” said L.L. Bean’s chief marketing officer explains.

A rep for Walmart.com says it uses “real-time feedback” not just to improve customer service, but to “help suppliers improve products faster.”

Retailers and manufacturers are also monitoring the Internet to call out fraudulent reviews — positive and negative — to make sure that both they and consumers are seeing actual customers’ feedback.

While Amazon won’t pull items because of bad reviews, it does allow users to revise reviews. In an age where the products we buy, especially the bigger-ticket items, can often be fixed or improved upon with a software update, the ability to revise an Amazon review gives manufacturers the opportunity to address issues in the hope that customers may be satisfied enough to tell others about the improvement.

Firms Take Online Reviews to Heart [WSJ.com]

Comments

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  1. TrustAvidity says:

    I don’t think phone carriers are among them. Negative comment threads go on for miles about things that never change or even get publicly referenced.

  2. sufreak says:

    I had suggested a feature to Amazon which they rejected. It would allow people to register as users/owners of an item and that people could contact them with questions about the item.

    So many reviews are posted after immediate use, but I’d like to know how an item is over time. Many a time, something works great up front, but after 3 months, 1 year, etc… it sucks.
    Also, sometimes you have questions that can’t be addressed by the item descriptions.

    I know people can go and update their reviews, but not everyone does.

    Anyway..I hope more companies pay attention. Often, once they have their money, they stop caring.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      In the mean time, some people have it setup so they receive an email whenever someone comments on their review. You could try commenting on a few of the more well written ones and they may get back to you about how the item lasted over time.

  3. Barry Bunch O'Krunch says:

    Ah, L.L. Bean. One of the few, but appreciated, major companies out there that still puts the customer first. Their extremely-liberal return policy made me a customer for life, even after I had to return the same item twice when the zipper rolled irreversibly off its track. They’re one of the good ones!

    • Pants O Doom says:

      L.L. Bean is amazing. Plus, the quality on their items tends to be very, very good.

      • bobosims says:

        Agreed. I can’t say enough good about Beans! Amazingly great company that still understands what it takes to be truly successful! :-) (Simlar props to the good folks at Duluth Pack!)

        • NickRayko says:

          Duluth Pack? Not familiar with them. I’ve heard of Duluth Trading Post, and would rank them slightly below LL Bean.

  4. Kuri says:

    How a company reacts to online comments can say a lot.

  5. Thomas says:

    Yeah, some certainly do. I write reviews on Yelp quite a bit, usually to do with Restaurants and hear back from the business about 20% of the time. The responses are usually 1 of 3 things:

    (1) Business posts a comment in response explaining a policy or procedure and why that policy exists, but with no apology or offer to come back and give them another try. I usually pay no attention to these — unless they make a valid point I had not thought of.

    (2) Business send a message (usually privately) explaining what happened, they apologize and offer some incentive to come back give them another try. I usually take them up on that offer and on if I have a better experience the next time — I happily update the review to reflect that. This is good use of their time in responding — turning a negative into a positive.

    (3) Business sends a message (usually privately) threatening to sue me if I do not immediately remove the bad review. I then take the message they sent me and add it to my review for the world to see. This has only happened twice and both of those business were closed forever within a short time. hahahaha

  6. RandomHookup says:

    In the Boston area, if you comment on the wrap restaurant chain Boloco, they will notice and probably talk to you if you aren’t happy.

  7. TBGBoodler says:

    Or, if you’re NBC, you can complain to Twitter and have the original complainer banned!

  8. snarfies says:

    Drew Fairweather (the artist formerly known as KOMPRESSOR) has been getting the attention of companies on twitter for a while now: http://www.drewtoothpaste.com/archives/2012/Jul/