Over the past month, I’ve observed several businesses asking customers (including me) for “reviews.”
My auto mechanic fixed a strange rattling noise on my car that was bugging me… and instead of charging me for it (I was more than happy to pay them SOMETHING for that service) — they declined to take my money. Instead, they asked if I would write them a review on Google or Yelp.
My nail salon — instead of charging me full price for the manicure I purchased (which I was very happy with) — insisted that I accept a $10 off “coupon” that I didn’t need or want…Then they asked me to write a review for them on Yelp.
In a podcast that I listen to, the speakers frequently ask listeners to write reviews for their podcast, in exchange for a free book of their choice by the author.
“What is up with businesses begging people for reviews?” I thought.
Not even “begging”…just asking!
In all of these cases, something didn’t sit right with me.
The problem with asking customers for reviews (or even testimonials) is that it’s slightly “manufactured”…and it sort of de-sanctifies the value of the transaction that just took place.
Whatever they write, didn’t come from the heart…it came out of their desire to be polite.
For starters, the customer didn’t come up with the idea on their own…instead, they were “asked” or maybe even slightly pressured to post a review.
Who would say no in that situation?
People want to be pleasant. So they agree to do something they might not really want to do.
In that case, the customer isn’t inspired internally to write a review on their own…they’re only doing it because they’d feel guilty NOT doing it.
Or they just don’t know how to say “no.”
…That’s not energetically clean at all.
In doing that, your business moves from being a “giver” to a “taker.”
Secondly, our society needs to learn to stop listening to other people…and to make their own individual decisions.
“Reviews” perpetuate the myth that “Other people know better than I do.”
How the hell is a total stranger (who may or may not have the same values as me) going to tell me what I should expect from any given company?
I’m perfectly capable of choosing to do business with a company based on THEIR content (or lack thereof).
Personally, I don’t even read reviews.
I read and study a business’s content before I buy anything from them. I base my buying decision on the intelligence of their content:
Does it inspire me? Does it open my eyes to a new idea? Does it cause me to think in a more productive way?
If I read reviews (such as movie reviews), I only read them AFTER I’ve experienced the product and made my own decisions about it… because I want to deepen my understanding, education, or enthusiasm. That’s it.
If I use a product or service and love it, I don’t “need” to share my experience with total strangers in order for it to be valid! I might share my experience with close friends or family.
Maybe this rigorous self-education makes me a weirdo in today’s cut-and-paste, scrolling society. But it keeps my life energetically clean.
Thirdly… most reviews are simply a “projection” of someone’s own crap onto someone else.
Either the review is a complaint (someone declaring that they were a victim in life and didn’t like the experience they manifested with a particular company)…
OR the review is a positive sentiment that the customer only posted because the business asked them to.
Rarely do you find a thoughtful, inspired, well-constructed review that comes from the heart and is actually worth reading or studying.
Plenty of businesses have tons of raving customers without any reviews being posted.
Others thrive, even if they have “negative” or false reviews!
The best, most valuable customers sometimes go years or decades without uttering a peep about their favorite businesses on any public platform.
Does that negate the business’s ability to be successful?! No!
Great customers show their appreciation NOT through manufactured reviews, but through continued PURCHASES.
Nothing spells out “I love your business” more than a customer continuing to give you money, because they want to.
…And the rest of the world doesn’t even have to know this is going on, for you to be successful!
Asking for reviews, likes, retweets, and shares is something that a MARKETER does.
It’s the equivalent of saying, “Please spread the word…” As if a business is utterly helpless to do that work themselves.
“You have to get lots of reviews and comments to boost Google ratings,” marketers claim.
If you’re ok with selling yourself out like energetically…then go for it.
But an anti-marketer doesn’t need to obligate anyone to do anything.
The anti-marketer is out there producing great content, and inspiring people by virtue of their content.
They’re out delivering a great product or service, regardless of what anyone else is saying (or not saying) about them.
Now…and this is the key difference: If a customer chooses to send you a gushing positive unsolicited testimonial…THAT is definitely something you want to capitalize on, as a business.
In that case, you can edit their words into a customer spotlight that educates others, while generating further sales.
You definitely want to ask, “Can I feature your story in our newsletter?!”
Most people would be thrilled to be featured. They’ve already written a testimonial from the heart…you don’t have to drag it out of them.
(In most cases, you have to cut it down and edit.:)
I’ve been editing clients’ spotlights for 6 years… they’re huge money-makers and inspiration-generators! Why? Because they come from the heart!
Unsolicited, positive feedback is genuine, so you know it’s energetically clean.
Best of all, you’re not putting customers in an awkward situation, trying to compel them to write you a review!
Writer, Editor, Copywriter
Founder, The Anti-Marketing Manifesto