Episode 5: Customers talking back

In the first part of the episode, we introduce the topic of customers talking back, starting with the Stop Funding Hate campaign, which lobbies companies not to place advertisements in divisive British newspapers. Information about the campaign is available on their website https://stopfundinghate.info/.

We also mention the example of fake reviews of gendered Bic pens on Amazon as a form of customers engaging in social critique through humour. You can find a selection of those fake reviews here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/12-hilarious-reviews-of-a-pen-just-for-women)  

Another (inadvertently) humorous example of customers talking to companies is this Twitter exchange between a customer of Domino’s Pizza and the company: 

We then go on to discuss electronic word of mouth (or eWOM for short), with Bernard and Erika referring to a number of relevant studies:

Babić Rosario, A., Sotgiu, F., de Valck, K., & Bijmolt, T. H. A. (2016). The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales: A meta-analytic review of platform, product, and metric factors. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(3), 297-318.

Kim, K., Yoon, S., & Choi, Y. K. (2019). The effects of eWOM volume and valence on product sales – an empirical examination of the movie industry. International Journal of Advertising, 38(3), 471-488.

Luca, M., & Zervas, G. (2016). Fake it till you make it: Reputation, competition, and Yelp review fraud. Management Science, 62(12), 3412-3427.

The proportion of fake reviews on Trip Advisor was reported in The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hotel-and-caf-cheats-are-caught-trying-to-buy-tripadvisor-stars-027fbcwc8 (paywall).  

The study about how confident people are about being able to spot fake reviews is summarised here, along with a test to find out how good you are at detecting reviews that are not genuine: https://theconversation.com/how-to-spot-a-fake-review-youre-probably-worse-at-it-than-you-realise-121043

Two pieces of software to help distinguish real from fake reviews are Fakespot.com and Reviewmeta.com. 

Moving to the credibility of authentic reviews, Bernard mentions the following  studies on how so-called netspeak as well as attractive user images affect the credibility of online reviews:

Lybaert, C., B. De Clerck, T. Loete, S. Depovere & K. Plevoets (in press) De impact van taal en gender in negatieve reviews: een experimentele studie naar gepercipieerde geloofwaardigheid en consumentengedrag. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing.

Manganari, E. & E. Dimara (2017) Enhancing the impact of online hotel reviews through the use of emoticons. Behaviour & Information Technology 1-13

Ozanne, M., Liu, S. Q., & Mattila, A. S. (2019). Are attractive reviewers more persuasive? Examining the role of physical attractiveness in online reviews. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 36(6), 728-739. 

Our interview for this episode is with Camilla Vasquez. Some of her publications are:

Bridges, J., & Vásquez, C. (2018). If nearly all Airbnb reviews are positive, does that make them meaningless? Current Issues in Tourism, 21(18), 2057-2075. 

Vásquez, C. (2014). The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews. London: Bloomsbury. 

Vásquez, C. (2019). Language, Creativity and Humour Online. New York: Routledge. 

In the final part of the episode, we analyse a Twitter thread that starts with one customer asking a company this mock question:

And to finish off, here are the two pop cultural references mentioned in the thread – feel free to tune out now and watch!

Listen to the episode here

Full transcription of the episode

References and Further Reading

Babić Rosario, A., Sotgiu, F., de Valck, K., & Bijmolt, T. H. A. (2016). The effect of electronic word of mouth on sales: A meta-analytic review of platform, product, and metric factors. Journal of Marketing Research, 53(3), 297-318.

Kim, K., Yoon, S., & Choi, Y. K. (2019). The effects of eWOM volume and valence on product sales – an empirical examination of the movie industry. International Journal of Advertising, 38(3), 471-488.

Luca, M., & Zervas, G. (2016). Fake it till you make it: Reputation, competition, and Yelp review fraud. Management Science, 62(12), 3412-3427.

Lybaert, C., B. De Clerck, T. Loete, S. Depovere & K. Plevoets (in press) De impact van taal en gender in negatieve reviews: een experimentele studie naar gepercipieerde geloofwaardigheid en consumentengedrag. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing.

Manganari, E. & E. Dimara (2017) Enhancing the impact of online hotel reviews through the use of emoticons. Behaviour & Information Technology 1-13

Ozanne, M., Liu, S. Q., & Mattila, A. S. (2019). Are attractive reviewers more persuasive? Examining the role of physical attractiveness in online reviews. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 36(6), 728-739. 

Bridges, J., & Vásquez, C. (2018). If nearly all Airbnb reviews are positive, does that make them meaningless? Current Issues in Tourism, 21(18), 2057-2075. 

Vásquez, C. (2014). The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews. London: Bloomsbury. 

Vásquez, C. (2019). Language, Creativity and Humour Online. New York: Routledge. 

22 comments

  1. Fake reviews are things that can be a danger to companies nowadays. One negative fake review can do a lot and some businesses do everything to take down their competitors. This episode helpes to identify fake reviews and it will help me and others to look more objectively at review-sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.

    Like

  2. Thank you for another educational podcast. I found it very interesting to learn about the factors that make a review credible and authentic. I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind for future reviews.

    Like

  3. I loved the examples that were used in this podcast. Thank you for sharing those hilarious tweets! The podcast had a very educational content. Now I know how to write a good review. I also know now that not all reviews are real. Fake review do exist after all. Thanks again for this interesting podcast!

    Like

  4. This is my favorite episode so far! As someone who always checks reviews before buying a product or booking something, this was very useful. Great interview with clear examples as well.

    Like

  5. Great podcast! Amazing how Jen gave such a clever answers to the complaints of customers. This was a good, instructive podcast.

    Like

  6. Thank you for this episode! As always, it was very interesting. I always learn a lot from these episodes, for example; how to be more credible in reviews and how creativity has a big impact online.
    I loved the examples as well, they were quite funny.

    Like

  7. Thank you for another great episode! It was once again very educational and interesting. One thing that really surprised me, was to hear how much we as customers rely on electronic word of mouth. Thank you for making me aware of this fact.

    Like

  8. Nice podcast! There were some interesting subjects that were discussed. I never thought about the fake reviews, so I learned quite a lot.

    Like

  9. Thank you very much for another educational podcast! This episode made me aware that we should watch out for fake reviews. Thanks to this podcast, I know how to write a good review and that it is important to be authentic and credible.

    Like

  10. Another wonderful episode! Now I know how to write a review, where I seem credible and real.
    I also loved the example of the app Skyscanner.

    Like

  11. It amazed me how important reviews actually are. It’s also very helpful to know how to see a review is credible or not.

    Like

  12. Thank you for another wonderful episode. It amazes me how important it is to be creative. It also made me see that there are more fake reviews than you would ever imagine.

    Like

  13. This was a very funny episode of the podcast given all the great examples used. Thank you for the laughs and the great information.

    Like

  14. I now know to be a little more serious and to the point when leaving a comment. I don’t think I realized up until now that my reactions often don’t come across as credible. Thank you for your expertise and opinions.

    Like

  15. Authenticity is the new gold in this era of social media. It’s very easy to be misled and I found your insights on this topic very interesting. Appreciated it. Cheers!

    Like

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