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    Former MSE Debs
    Real-life MMD: Should I threaten a bad review to get better service?
    • #1
    • 18th Feb 13, 11:01 AM
    Real-life MMD: Should I threaten a bad review to get better service? 18th Feb 13 at 11:01 AM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should I threaten a bad review to get better service?

    I write a blog about the city I live in, which includes reviews of local eateries, hotels and attractions. I'm pretty certain last time I went to a restaurant, the waitress overheard me talking about my review, because the service picked up after. I don't get paid to write yet lots of places benefit from better custom after I've written about them. Should I start telling places I visit I'll be reviewing them to get better service?

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    Note: Please remember that these are real-life Money Moral Dilemmas that have been sent into us and while we want you to have your say, please remember to be nice when you respond.

    In this instance, as has been pointed out in the thread below, there is potential for blackmail (though this would depend entirely on how the situation is handled), which MSE does not endorse.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Dan; 21-02-2013 at 2:36 PM.
Page 1
    • CCStar
    • By CCStar 19th Feb 13, 7:42 PM
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    • #2
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:42 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:42 PM
    No, I think it is false.

    People should be nice anyway.
    An average day in my life
    I am no expert in property but have lived in many types of homes, in many locations and can only talk from experience.
    • Xen6
    • By Xen6 19th Feb 13, 7:45 PM
    • 193 Posts
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    • #3
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:45 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:45 PM
    By telling them you review places you're right, your service will probably be better, but I think that your review will have more value if written from the perspective of an average customer enjoying a realistic everyday experience. This way you can really identify the positives and negatives of the restaurant rather than providing a distorted view from an "out of the ordinary service".
    • iclayt
    • By iclayt 19th Feb 13, 7:52 PM
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    • #4
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:52 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Feb 13, 7:52 PM
    I think it makes far more sense to provide feedback of your experiences based on the natural service you receive, which will be more honest, accurate and reliable for those who read it - unless you are planning to end every review with "I received excellent service, because I threatened them with a negative online review".
    • scoobydoobydoo
    • By scoobydoobydoo 20th Feb 13, 12:46 AM
    • 111 Posts
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    • #5
    • 20th Feb 13, 12:46 AM
    • #5
    • 20th Feb 13, 12:46 AM

    Obviously not because although you may get better service the people who go there on your recommendation will not.

    Why would this bother you? Well because your blog will get a bad name and people wont read it anymore.

    What a stupid Q! And why are the MMD not even vaguely dilemma-ish anymore?
    • scoobydoobydoo
    • By scoobydoobydoo 20th Feb 13, 12:48 AM
    • 111 Posts
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    • #6
    • 20th Feb 13, 12:48 AM
    • #6
    • 20th Feb 13, 12:48 AM
    Oh and as someone who has worked in the restaurant business for years, I can tell you that you get short shrift from me if you threatened me with a bad review, just as you would if you told me that your best friend owns the company that employs me (that has happened to me).
    • scotsbob
    • By scotsbob 20th Feb 13, 1:15 AM
    • 4,462 Posts
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    • #7
    • 20th Feb 13, 1:15 AM
    • #7
    • 20th Feb 13, 1:15 AM
    It's basically a form of intimidation.
    I would hope you got short shrift from anyone you tried it on
  • bogwart
    • #8
    • 20th Feb 13, 2:26 AM
    • #8
    • 20th Feb 13, 2:26 AM
    How would you feel about being blackmailed? Your attitude is disgraceful. Who do you think you are, anyway? A small-time amateur blogger, is all. Do make an effort to get over yourself.
  • juggsy
    • #9
    • 20th Feb 13, 6:21 AM
    • #9
    • 20th Feb 13, 6:21 AM
    I'm surprised at MSE for this, hardly a 'dilemma' and certainly not one many of us can relate to.

    As for the question, it's blindingly obvious that basing your review on blackmail is pathetic and completely mis-leading to anyone reading the review.

    When you have a column in The Times then you can begin to think your reviews have some sway. Until then I hope anyone you suggest this to chucks you out of their establishment.
    • Sooler
    • By Sooler 20th Feb 13, 7:35 AM
    • 2,898 Posts
    • 2,107 Thanks
    Should I start telling places I visit that I'll be reviewing them to get better service?
    Originally posted by MSE Debs
    Just let them know you're coming so they know who the pompous cretin is.
    Last edited by Sooler; 20-02-2013 at 12:27 PM.
    • Hezzawithkids
    • By Hezzawithkids 20th Feb 13, 8:14 AM
    • 2,958 Posts
    • 10,736 Thanks
    Absolutely not. What would be the point? It would make your reviews biased and unbalanced and ruin your reputation.

    So maybe yeah, go ahead, you'll get what you deserve.

    And what a rubbish MMD by the way.
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    • pollypenny
    • By pollypenny 20th Feb 13, 9:41 AM
    • 25,122 Posts
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    You could try - more like try it on!

    The proprietor may well report you and you could lose your job. Deservedly.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
    • debbiesmum
    • By debbiesmum 20th Feb 13, 9:45 AM
    • 50 Posts
    • 82 Thanks
    Should I tell them of my blog to get better service
    No - because if that's the way you get good service , it's not an accurate reflection of the service another customer would get.
    • joehoover
    • By joehoover 20th Feb 13, 9:48 AM
    • 143 Posts
    • 239 Thanks
    Of course not, that would defeat the whole point in your review.

    If you are doing your blog to help others aswell as your own enjoyment then it needs to be truthful, people use reviews for guidance a lot, the more incorrect ones out there the harder it is for others to make a decision.

    You're better off not reviewing anything at all than giving false reviews.

    I'm also a mystery diner, it's imperative staff don't know, if they can't be nice to you as a human being let alone being paid to be then they are in the wrong job, people shouldn't need an extra incentive to be nice and serve you better.
    • gayleygoo
    • By gayleygoo 20th Feb 13, 10:35 AM
    • 801 Posts
    • 2,152 Thanks
    Well you might get better service if the staff think you are reviewing the place, but other customers won't get the preferential treatment. If you threaten them with a bad review, then you're missing the point. If you have any sort of power at all over where people eat (and hopefully you don't have too much) then you need to be fair and not abuse it.
    • clairmelville
    • By clairmelville 20th Feb 13, 10:57 AM
    • 29 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    Writing a bad review will often make the establishment change their ways to improve service for others. I have noticed that as a result of some of the bad reviews I have written there have been positive changes to places, such as baby changing added, places made more child friendly. Or in the cases of good reviews where I can be identified I have been given discount on my return visit (this is of course NOT why I write reviews and I don't expect it or think that it is the norm).
  • chrimson
    Surely the whole point of your job is to tell the truth as you see it! If you think letting them know you are doing a review will get you better service then there's not much point in the review.
    Should "secret shoppers" let shop staff know that they are in the shop?
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 20th Feb 13, 11:46 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 12,694 Thanks
    Anyone can write a review for a place on Google Maps, and many other sites.
    Make yourself useful and offer new establishments a spot of publicity.

    • pennypinchUK
    • By pennypinchUK 20th Feb 13, 11:57 AM
    • 382 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    A review is only meaningful if it tells you what the normal standard, service, etc. of an establishment is.

    What's the point of reading your review if the staff have raised their game to impress you?

    I'd not take the blindest notice of a review if I was aware the staff had been tipped off you were coming and were trying to butter you up.
    • Flickering Ember
    • By Flickering Ember 20th Feb 13, 12:31 PM
    • 11,623 Posts
    • 128,854 Thanks
    Flickering Ember
    Definitely not. I am also a reviewer and a blogger and I see it as an extension of mystery shopping. I want to be treated like any other ordinary customer, so I can describe my experience on the basis of that interaction, as opposed to being sucked up to. I remember MSing a well known burger bar once. At the end of my visit, as they'd done very well, I had to approach the counter, ask for the manager and present them with a certificate to redeem a giftcard for the staff member who'd served me. Any time I went in there after that as a normal customer, the staff would be all over me and it was embarrassing. They should treat everyone like that!
    Flickering Embers grow higher and higher...I need a break and I wanna be a paperback writer!
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