Monday, February 08, 2010

Customer Complaints: can a free model work?

Can a free web site host customer complaints without being swamped or ignored? This is the question I am asking myself after reading Jeff Jarvis' book "What Would Google Do?". I have decided to find out. And in true "googly" internet fashion, I need your help.
I am in the process of creating a web site called "Rate-My-Biz" where consumers (i.e. us) can report bad service, make suggestions, write product reviews, and generally give our impressions about a given company or service.
Initially it will be for South African companies, but later it will be expanded to other countries, once the kinks have been ironed out. I decided to take the bull by the horns and do it myself because I have complained about a lot of companies on this blog.
But I have only one point of view, and that's where you come in: what would you like to see, and what should I avoid? I want this to be a community effort: ideas should be included because they will be effective and useful, and because people like them. So, please use this blog's comments facility, or go to the comments page and join in the discussion. Comments are posted instantly, and moderated later.
I really want to hear from you. Right now I'm designing the database, and will post the database pages as soon as they are ready.
There are already two "complaints" web sites in South Africa: and, but both of them HelloPeter requires the companies that respond to PAY for the privilege of defending their reputation. I think this is wrong. Also, these sites do not allow for the community to participate: you make a complaint, you get a response, and that's it. You can't reply, and other people can't say "Me too! I also had a similar experience."
Also, I want a system where I can post product reviews, or make suggestions that others can comment on too. For example, I'd be willing to pay for coffee flavoured toothpaste, but how do I tell this to the toothpaste company? If other people think it's a great idea, they should be able to say so too, without signing a petition.


Richard said...

Hi Donn,

I represent and picked up your blog post. I would like take the opportunity to clear up something that was mentioned in your post.

getclosure is a free service. Companies can receive and respond to customer feedback free of charge.

Companies that wish to make use of value added services (such as customisation of data collection and monthly reports( are required to pay a subscription fee.

getclosure disagrees with the pay to respond model and companies are invited to respond free of charge to all feedback submitted on the website.

At the moment community participation and interaction on the website is limited. We are working on improving this and cant wait to make key changes.

Thank you for your time..

Donn Edwards said...

I missed the opening part of your "Pricing" page which states:

"Any South African business may receive and respond to complaints submitted on the getclosure website free of charge."

My apologies for the inaccuracy.

Richard said...

Thanks for the apologies and for making the correction in the original post - it is much appreciated.

Warning: The NSA and 4 million other sick weirdos with "security clearance" have intercepted this page and know that you are reading it.