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Good Reports Vs Bad Reports


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Fine, I'll grasp this nettle this time. First thing I'll do here is to copy and paste a reply I made in another thread where the subject had wandered.


"This is a chestnut that has been talked about many times on many forums, and like most I can see and appreciate both sides. I admit that I feel uncomfortable with negative publicity for any business, yet have no such feelings for the positive side of the coin.

In my view, it would be "unusual" to find a positive comment made where not deserved, but I cannot feel the same of negative comments, as these might be made in anger from a person not seeing the other side's situation.

For my part, I will happily make public any praise I have but will restrict negative comments to PMs only."

Now, one of the nice things about this forum is that members all seem to try that little bit harder to "play nicely" and I'm hoping very much that this thread will continue in that way, giving a chance for each to voice their views whilst still respecting other peoples.

I would add to my point on the subject in hand, that whilst little damage would normally be done by submitting a positive review, the same cannot be said where negative comments are posted on the internet. It needs to be remembered that the internet is a relatively new animal, and that the etiquettes required are still in their infancy.

Ok good people, over to you. :) 


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I always think that negative points can be put forward in a positive way, so that instead of being outright critecisms they can be put forward as learning points, so for instance instead of saying 'this was rubbish', put it forward as 'this was not so good and could be improved by...'

after all what upsets one person may be anothers positive point- for example

" the holiday was rubbish- we couldnt get TV reception anywhere"

for one person might spoil the holiday, for another, it might be the icing on the cake that they couldnt get TV reception.

When I came on holiday on the broads, there were a few issues - the bed on pearl horizon just didnt have room for my huge feet under the side of the bed, this meant I was trying to fit 6'4" of me on about 5' of bed, in the end we just dragged the mattress into the saloon and bunked down there - no problem for us, but for someone else it may have ruined the holiday.

I loved that trip, but the wife wasnt enamored with it (too many hours of sailing past seeing nothing but reeds I think).

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One of the things that limits the value of any review, whether positive, negative or neutral is when the reviewer gives an indication as to how good their experience was without explaining why. What was good and what was bad.What is great for one person may be anathema for another. Similarly, the criteria by which we judge will be different.For example, a great pub for me with have a good range of well, kept ales, no television or loud music (other than live events) and food will have a bias to being local, fresh and different. I get really fed up with standard menus across chains. Other people's requirements are different. A good, descriptive review can encompass what the reviewer has both liked and disliked without being inappropriately judgemental.

I also think that in the right circumstance, a negative review can be beneficial. Take beer quality for example. If I am served a pint that has not been well kept I will normally draw this to the barman's attention. It's easy to resolve, maybe that one is at the end and has sold slowly. "Can I replace it with a different one" or "Do you mind waiting while we change the cask" is perfectly acceptable and certainly no cause for a negative review. However denial of the problem is cause for concern and an expectation that the problem will recur and affect other people. In this circumstance I think a suitably worded negative review is highly appropriate.

Another way of looking at it is this: If I can be warned in advance of an issue, it avoids me making the same mistake.

There is also the question of others who are affected. A few years ago I was served (not on the Broads) a beer so badly kept it was undrinkable. The bartender refused to do anything about it so I requested to see the landlady. SHe responded with "It's supposed to taste like that". Having walked out (They lost the potential of a party of 6 for a meal and an evening of drinking) we were sufficiently concerned to post a negative review. This was picked up by the brewery, who did a blind visit and were so concerned by what they found that they determined to no longer supply this pub because of the damage to their reputation. In this case the negative review of the pub enabled another business to avoid a threat to them.

Another arena in which I am very keen to see constructive criticism is in the suitability of a venue for those with reduced/damaged hearing. This is an increasing problem as most pubs tend to ne open plan and also in that it is fashionable to limit/remove much of the traditional soft furnishings.There is also the trend to loud and intrusive so called background music. I will happily post an opinion as to whether it is an easy or difficult place for someone with hearing loss to engage in conversation. This is the sort of information that helps me avoid places where I am effectively partially excluded.

So overall I think what I'm trying to say is let's please have negative comments in reviews, but make sure that they are constructive and informative. That way businesses can respond, both on the forum and in addressing the problem and cliants can be better informed and make a judgement as to whether the issue actually affects them.

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I think we are already missing Broad Scot in all the recent threads and subsequent posts. His wise handling of anything heated will be so sorely missed and makes the other mods jobs so hard as time isn't always there to oversee everything. I for one couldn't read everything that is posted and I think Iain was in that position. Please everyone respect that his passing has left a huge hole in the management of this forum and think twice before you post....In his memory

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I for one think that all experiences/reviews should be allowed good bad or indifferent. But maybe no experience referring to a business should be allowed to go up in the heat of the moment, a few days or more later when all the adrenaline has calmed down. That way the post should be rational and fair whether good bad or indifferent.

We are all grown ups then people can make there own minds up as to use said business. I hate seeing this forum slating off businesses about any thing without experiencing the business for themselves, food hygiene ratings are but one, does it mater really where the chicken started its life, as long as its good food on your plate?. I was born long before sell by dates and food hygiene ratings a fridge was a luxury very few could afford,  as was many on this forum in those days a nose was tool of choice to see if it was ok to eat. We all survived, to much molly coddling these days.

Lighten up this was/is still should be the friendly forum.

Charlie :broadscot

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Speaking as a one-time professional reviewer, it is very difficult to be objective in a review. 

It was OK for me in my time on magazines as I was being paid to write something about a product or service that I was not paying to experience. 

Transfer that into a scenario where I might have spent £1k or so and feel that I was getting poor value, etc and my response would have to be more carefully worded. I once described a Desktop Publishing suite as little more than an upgrade to a potato, knife and ink pad (it was awful) and had I actually bought it, I would have been furious. (The software developer was furious when they read it). 

As a reviewer, you have a duty to inform others of your experience, but you need to remain objective. The guy before you may have been an ahole  to your waiter who is struggling to shrug off the experience when he fails to hear your order properly. 

There is often a reason and I am reminded of a conversation I had with Dan Horner a while ago about how he has occasionally dealt with rude customers. He told me that he believes that most people who are rude are having a bad time elsewhere in their lives and that it's often just a manifestation of stress and so on.  He's probably right in many cases. 

Things are not always as they seem and the benefit of the doubt needs to be used more often than it sometimes is. Sure, vote with your feet, but only get other feet to vote in extreme circumstances. A bad business won't survive too long regardless (unless it's British Gas). 

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Something I was once told and have long remembered is that a complaint is a gift. If customers don't complain then the business doesn't have the chance to put things right.

A lot of people don't like to make a fuss and so are less inclined to want to say anything if an experience was not up to standard. But if you don't let the management know then they can't stop the same thing happening to other people and they aren't given the opportunity to rectify the mistake.

I work in customer service and I know how tricky it can be and how much you just can't get it right every time. But I'm sure that every business wants to deliver something that they are proud of.

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Don't mention the V word,  a complete and utter disgrace.  The lawyers are on to them. 

When you go to Ofcom the phone options are,  1, vodafone,  2 all other communications companies ,,  they are that bad they have an entire section devoted to them. .

Blood pressure pills Matron 

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