While sites like Angie’s List — customer reviews of local consumer-centric companies by region — get a fair amount of attention, no-one talks much about the consequences of pushing “intelligence” to the edge. For example, a relatively small number of negative reviews can have a huge impact on your likelihood of using a particular service. But, to a first approximation, negative comments arrive more or less stochastically, so it isn’t inconceivable for a busy service that you might see 30 negative comments before you saw the first positive comment.
Worse yet, there is the distorting influence a few malcontents can have. That point is made very clearly in the following comment that appeared today on a post of mine from April on the subject of such lists:
Just a comment from a company that is on Angies list, a 3 time award winner, which pretty much means nothing except you are at the mercy of some (not all) people with attitude to distroy a company from the ground up.
We have customers that posted low grades on our company ( B & C) and the deck looked beautiful, we called this cusomter …her reasoning for the low grades was “that she used to be a supervisor and never gave anyone a good review with all A’s”, and then call us back in 4 years to do her deck again and you are walking on egg shells.
And now Angies list members can post on a company even if work is not performed. So if you get 60 calls a day you had better make sure they are all returned as they can post you ignored the call and give you bad marks. Angies List members then see the F report and never read any further than the 1st repor they come to, and then you do not get calls for a month or so.
Angies List has not tried to resolve the problem with the member at all, even since the work is completed on this person and she has note changed her report. So our company sets with bad marks and a small comment from us as how it was resolved with no proof from the customer that all was well.
We used to enjoy being on Angies List, but that is looking pretty dim as I watch my season go down hill and my business drop to an all time low. Maybe companies should start a list of their own to put customers on that can not be satisfied in no way, no matter what you can do to please them. Pretty much a shame when a 10 year family business is down the tubes due to one person.