Reviewed by users:
Ever looked at a social media post filled with death threats – just because their packet of chips was a little on the empty side. And thought… why?! Ever pondered why that Facebook friend absolutely insists on airing every minor (or perceived) failing of their local grocery store? Same.
There are many reasons why we write reviews, the most prevalent being to share a negative experience, to help others make better-informed purchase decisions, or to give a positive shout out to businesses or brands that impress us. Let’s unpack why we’re compelled to write reviews.
1. Reviews provide an outlet
Life is tough. We’re all feeling the pressure in some way – through stressful jobs, political unrest, economic uncertainty or emptier wallets. Paying for products, services or experiences is something most don’t take lightly and so, when something goes wrong, it isn’t taken lightly either.
Receiving a shoddy product or subpar service can feel especially infuriating in tough times – and writing a strongly-worded review can bring relief to its author. There’s a keen sense of justice tied to a public complaint, and often it provides an outlet for more than just the issue at hand.
But it’s important to remember to keep to the point.
2. Emotions are involved
Humans are emotional beings, and reviews provide a platform where those emotions can be expressed. We tend to write reviews when an experience strikes an emotional chord – which is why you’re likely to see more reviews that are extremely positive or negative, as opposed to just meh.
Generally, people complain more about being treated poorly than they do about poor product quality. This is because they feel personally wronged, overlooked, or insulted as opposed to simply inconvenienced.
On the other hand, extremely sentimental or happy experiences result in glowing reviews because they really mean something to the customer.
3. Reviews are empowering
Back in the day, we had to log formal complaints through call centres or, even worse, the mail. These days, reviews allow us to express ourselves eloquently in a public, instant, digital forums.
This means that we’re protected from potentially awkward face-to-face confrontation, and have a captive and valuable audience. This means when writing a review, we’re all but ensured a speedy response or resolution.
Consumers have never been more empowered. And we’re totally here for it.
4. Reviews feed the ego
Thoughtful reviews give customers the opportunity to earn consumer street cred. Yup, it’s a thing. They allow their authors to share intel, wisdom, knowledge and opinions – painting them as enlightened connoisseurs with lekker taste.
This does wonders for the ego – both by establishing frequent reviewers as micro-influencers of sorts, and by providing the satisfaction of knowing that you personally helped others make discerning purchase decisions.
5. Reviews connect communities
Most importantly of all, reviews offer people the chance to help out hundreds (and potentially thousands) of fellow customers. This sense of digital community has an undeniable feel-good factor.
You’re contributing to the future happiness (however small) of people just like yourself, as well as providing critical feedback that has the power to see businesses flourish.
So there you have it. Writing reviews plays on an array of emotions ranging from negative to positive. But one thing is for sure, the good certainly outweighs the bad.