Online Presence Management for Honorable Professionals
Review Management Best Practices
May 22, 2023
Why your company needs to stop removing reviews
1) Consumers can tell your company is filtering the reviews
68% of customers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad ratings (Econsultancy, 2012). Customers are more review savvy and can spot when things look too good to be true. 95% of customers believe censorship or faked reviews when they don't see bad ratings (Reevoo, 2015).
2) It looks shady, like your company has something to hide
30% of customers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews (Webrepublic). Only 8% of consumers expect a company to have a 5-star rating before they will consider using them (Brightlocal, 2016). If there are only 5 star reviews on a review site, customers know that your business is grooming your reviews and assume it's because you have something to hide.
3) Reviews that are removed will only anger consumers trying to share their experience
If your company doesn't allow or encourage reviews, your customers that have something to say, good or bad, will find it strange that they can't leave a review for your business. Customers can still leave reviews for unverified listings and accounts so just because your business can't see the negative reviews, it does not mean they do not exist.
4) It looks like your business doesn't value customers enough to win them back
If your company doesn't allow for feedback, it looks to consumers that you do not actually care about them or value customer service. If consumers can't expect good service, don't expect them to want to go to your business. Customers like to see companies that are open to feedback and especially the companies that are paying attention enough to try to win customers back.
5) It doesn't give your business an opportunity to win back their trust
If a review isn't published, it can be really infuriating to customers. If your business did fail the customer, it gives you a chance to win them back. Since your company is responding to the customer publicly, your company can potentially win them back and also show other consumers that you care about how you treat your customers. Customers like that.
6) Companies are missing out on valuable feedback to improve
While consumers sometimes can be unrealistic with their expectations from a business, some can give feedback on possible oversights. Oversights happen to the best of us and there is always room for improvement.
Circumstances when it is acceptable to gate reviews
Here are the situations when it is acceptable for your business to filter out which reviews are published:
1) When the review contains graphic content or inappropriate language
If the review is inappropriate, it contains explicit language or graphic material. Thankfully, a lot of review websites are all over this, but if they happen to miss it, you can flag it as inappropriate.
2) When reviews are unrelated to your business
If a review doesn't give any mention or context to your business, products or services. Occasionally customers leave reviews but they actually want to ask a question. If it really does not add context as a review from a customer, it is okay to suppress that review.
3) When reviews are spammy or someone is plugging another company
If a review isn't related to your company but is clearly spam, or if a person starts mentioning their company instead of you business. In the example below, the review was for a direct competitor and was a case of mistaken identity.
4) When the review is a fake or planted by a competitor (and your company knows it is)
In the case of review fraud, it is totally acceptable to suppress the review and remove it. In the example below, the person hasn't ever been to the establishment, they simply left a review that they read other reviews.
Unfortunately, reviews have been used as blackmail and this type of unscrupulous behavior does happen. The fact that this behavior is on the rise speaks to the importance of practicing review management and using reputation management software. If you want help determining if a review is a fake or not, try the free Review Skeptic tool backed by research from Cornell University.
Again, Please Don't Review-Stuff
The review below is an example of a business owner promoting his own business. There's a lot of specific information that even the most dedicated reviewer wouldn't delve into. On top of that, the review is so long a lot of people will probably just skim over.
How can your company practice white-hat review management?
Here's how your business can practice white-hat review management:
Provide outstanding customer experiences
Let your customer aware that you're on Yelp or Google and any other online listing
Read and assess the review Does it satisfy the criterion to suppress or remove?
If yes, remove and you are done managing the review.
If no, the review stays published
Respond to the review
If the review is positive, thank them for their feedback
If the review is negative, try to move the dialogue offline. Try to fix the situation to win the customer back. If you have corrected the situation, try asking them to change their review. If not, then at least the customer may come back.
White hat review management visual guide
Why it's best to take the review management high-road
At the end of the day, people can tell if your business is grooming your reviews if all of your reviews are too positive. From a customer's point of view, it is better to see a business with a mix of reviews, mostly favorable but with some negatives too. So long as a business is trying to fix the situation by responding to the customer and sticking to the proper review management protocols, it actually says more about the business than a company with all perfect 5 star reviews.