Pre- and Post-Experience (Post-Service) Interaction: Learning from online reviews

Today Guy’ Kawasaki’s blog reported on an article written by Ilana DeBare of the the San Francisco Chronicle titled: “Amateur reviews changing approach of small businesses.” 

Guy highlights the fact that anyone can be a critic online and he references a number of sites where people can rate businesses.  Once again, the power of the internet in the Participation Age is being leveraged in ways that are only limited by our imagination. 

The article itself is well worth the read.  However, I wish to extend the discussion by reflecting on how this online participation can be applied to the broader area of learning. 

I extensively use sites such as Expedia.com to read reviews on hotels before I book a trip.  The individual entries from travelers and the overall reviewer rating is far more important to me that the star rating (read price) provided by the hotel.  In this situation my pre-travel learning has been worth the effort as I have always been pleased with the hotels I chose.  To date I have not completed my post-travel learning by actually writing and submitting a review on the hotels.  Thank goodness other travelers have taken the time to record their views and recommendations. 

Online reviews are extensively used for restaurants, hairdressers, and a wide range of consumer products.  However, I wonder if this trend will continue to gain momentum into other service areas such as buying cars, taking online courses, etc.  Pre- and post-experience (or post-service) interactions will continue to enrich our lives, providing we take the time to participate.

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