Carli, a university student in Adelaide, first came across WOMO after searching for businesses on Google.
“When I searched for businesses online, WOMO reviews kept coming up and that piqued my interest. I read some reviews and found some gems amongst them. I find that WOMO reviews are more helpful than those of other sites because there's a variety of users from different demographics writing reviews. Some sites get the same kind of customer writing stock standard reviews. Everyone has the same opinion! Which isn't very useful."
And while Carli enjoys sharing her opinions with others online (she has written over 150 reviews since joining in 2012, similar to our previous interviewee Graham and like most reviewers on WOMO, Carli doesn’t often write negative reviews for businesses.
“I rarely write negative reviews for businesses on WOMO – less than ten percent of my reviews are 'negative'. When I do write something negative, I do it in the hope of creating some kind of dialogue with the business.
I don't think businesses realise how important customer feedback is – especially negative feedback. Review sites are good because a savvy business can get a sense of their reputation and standing in the community. Writing a review gives power to the customer. It makes me feel as though I’m being heard. And it's very useful for a prospective customer like myself, compared to other advertising.
I always use WOMO when I'm going to a restaurant or looking for a new service because it's honest. WOMO also gives customers the opportunity to share our most loved services and tell our favourite stories. I often try to write things that are entertaining or give a shout out to great businesses and staff. Online reviewers do the advertising for a good business."
While review sites and online forums are popular places for customers to vent their dissatisfaction with businesses, many are surprised when they find they’ve received a negative review online. Owners and managers cannot understand why a customer would choose to write about the experience online rather than tell them to their face. Carli believes that this is done mostly out of politeness. She says people don't like to be rude, but want a comfortable way to voice their opinion.
"Sometimes it’s hard to tell the business in person that there’s something that they’re doing wrong. It feels awkward. So instead, most people just look for a new business or service to meet their needs. Personally, If I don’t like a business I won't want to go back and you’ll never hear what the problem is. And sometimes you think that the staff member you give your feedback to might not pass it on to the manager or owner, so I have my say when writing a review because the business manager or owner will actually see it!
I’ve never had a business directly respond directly to a review, but I'd love it if they did! If I see that they've acknowledge the feedback, it's the first step to solving the problem."
At WOMO Headquarters, we feel that many businesses are still trying to get a handle on social media, from Facebook, Forums and Review sites, with some still finding it difficult to accept that "online people-power" is the way of the future. Being online comes with the risk that some things will be out of the businesses control, like getting a less than favourable review. But that doesn't mean businesses shouldn't use this growing force to drive new business and promote their brand. Carli has some good advice for businesses:
“If you are a business that is proud of your service or looking to always improve the business and are not afraid to find out what customers have to say about you, connect to a site like WOMO. You’ll know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong straight from your customers.”