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]