Sunday, October 03, 2010

Writing Effective Reviews that Teach

While reading my email this morning, I ran across one that referred to one of my favorite places here in the northwest: Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon. Many people know their products for the outstanding natural grains they grind in the plant and distribute throughout the nation. Those of us in this area are fortunate to be able to head down to the corporate headquarters and store at any time.

The website had a highlighted “review” section, and clicking on it brought up a wealth of information about the store and restaurant.

What can you learn from reading reviews? Here is what I learned about Bob’s Red Mill.

1. One reviewer went on about how good the egg sandwich was and how it was an outstanding value for the price. They serve breakfast at the restaurant on the premises, and an egg sandwich is something I hadn’t thought of in years.

2. It was revealed that Bob himself hangs out there on Saturdays. A big deal? Maybe not, but it is nice to know that the man behind the company comes in and talks with his customers—the human touch.

3. Reminder: The open bins of grains are an outstanding value, costing far less than when the grains are packaged and stored on shelves.

4. Reminder: Make sure you go through your cupboards and recipes before you go there, for it is easy to get overwhelmed due to the large quality of bulk bins that line the walls.

5. Reminder: If you think you will be the only one in the store on Saturday, think again. Customers have learned to make their grocery-shopping trip a real outing, where they can browse, eat a meal, and have great coffee with friends.

I wish I had read those reviews before I went. My first visit to the store was truly overwhelming, and reading reviews before my arrival would’ve lessened my confusion.

What if you sat down and wrote a review for a person or business with which you do business?

It’s the Little Things

Tips for Writing Reviews:

1. If you are frustrated with a company, take a deep breath before you head to the computer to write a negative review. Ask yourself, would I want someone to write this about me if it were a one-time issue?

2. Pick up or ask for a contact card as you are about to exit the place of business. When it is time to write the review, you will be glad you have all the information within easy reach.

3. When writing the review, give the reader some useful information about the business.

Example: The review reminded me about egg sandwiches. If I am going to have one, it sounds like Bob’s Red Mill is the place to go—visions of my great childhood dance in my head.

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