How people react to requests for review

A great little study by Cassia asks the question, “Do people change their behaviour when asked to submit a review for a service like a hotel or restaurant?” Exploring the idea of “reactance proneness” — that is, our need for autonomy and independence — the study considers whether people are more likely to feel positive or negative about being asked for a review. The study concludes:

Active review solicitation has the potential to increase the number of reviews for a business. At the same time, this practice irritates a significant share of guests. Given that attitudes are antecedents of behaviors, we may anticipate that some of these customers may defect. Therefore, managers should be aware that soliciting their guests increases the number of reviews but also causes disaffection among a relevant share of their guests. Above all, managers should avoid explicitly asking their guests to write positive reviews. Instead, they could build an emotional bond with their guests because a strong emotional relationship is a predictor of guests’ intention to spontaneously engage in [electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) activities].

There are equivalent lessons to be learned in an organisational setting as well. If managers ‘force’ people to engage in team building exercises or other forms of feedback and evaluation, is the outcome likely to be genuine engagement or an increase in resentment among those with high reactance proneness? Cassia’s study suggests that those responsible for interpersonal interactions should focus on sustained and genuine relationship building rather than shallow emotional manipulation.

Source: Journal of Vacation Marketing.

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