When did businesses lose all their self-confidence, so much so that they need to be constantly reminded that they are doing a good job? Why am I constantly being pleaded to rate, fill out surveys and give a review? Does every action and interaction have to be followed by a star system?
Just the other day I jumped in an Uber. Went for a pizza. And then called my mobile phone operator to ask about a bill. And of course I spent more time rating these three actions than actually carrying out the actions. “How was your Uber driver?” flashed up a message on my app. Then Google asked me, “How would you rate the service at the pizzeria?” and finally the mobile rang and an electronic voice pleaded “Were you satisfied with the service you received from Tele 2?” I only wanted to kill my hunger, get a lift to a meeting and pay my phone bill but ended up grading everything like a school teacher marking homework. And then you try and buy something online! Jesus that’s just a minefield of reviews, ratings and comments.
I recently bought some roses for my mother online. And then came the emails. “Were you pleased with the delivery?” – “Was the product to your satisfaction?” It is a bunch of red roses for God’s sake! How the hell do you rate a bunch of roses? Maybe “They weren’t as red as I thought they would be” or “I cut my finger of one of the thorns.” I just wanted a bunch of roses delivered not a relationship.
And the prize for the most idiotic review has to go to T-Com. I had spent what seemed like half my life on hold waiting to speak to a real person to sort out a problem. The plastic music that they play whilst you wait is forever embedded in my brain. And then when I finally got through to a real human being and sorted out my problem I was asked to stay on the line to answer a survey. I had just spent an eternity holding on I am not going to spend the other half of the day whilst waiting to answer a survey.
We are living in a society that constantly needs to be reminded its doing a good job. The new currency is Likes and the more we have the better. We need those Likes! When did we all get so insecure? Why this constant need for validation? Every step of the way in our lives we are now asked for our opinion.
And how was your visit to the WC?
I even saw a sign in Gatwick Airport with a green smiling face and a red angry face, you had to press one to grade a particular facility of the airport. And the facility was the public toilets! Presumably if you have diarrhoea you get to press the button numerous times. Don’t ask me how the toilet was just keep it clean and tidy and stocked with toilet paper and then I won’t have to press a smiling green face, because my face will be smiling!
Here is something revolutionary that will all save us lots of time. It also worked for the past 100 years before Facebook and other platforms came along. If you don’t like the food you get in a restaurant, then don’t go there again. If the taxi driver was rude then use another company next time and if the red roses turn up pink, then switch florists. It isn’t brain surgery. If you start going somewhere else, then that poor business will soon go bankrupt. And on the flip side if you get good service and great products reward those companies by using them again. It’s as simple as that.
Wasting time reading TripAdvisor reviews from “Hank from Alabama” who says “That was the best black risotto I have ever eaten.” It is the best because it is the first and only black risotto that Hank has ever eaten in his life!
The same way that customers complain in restaurants via the anonymity of their smart phones rather than just asking the waiter for help, or why the bread is stale, or the ice melted. Just speak to the person in front of you rather than hide behind your phones. How long before we start reviewing our doctors, teachers, bus drivers and postman?
“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone,” wise words from Steven Spielberg.