Google my business and other online reviews
Some of the best sites to use for online reviews are facebook and google my business. This is because customers are often logged in to these sites, and it is easier to leave a review. Your Google my business site should be treated as social media and be constantly interacted with.
68% of consumers trust others’ opinions more when they see both good and bad scores (Econsultancy, 2012). Customers are savvy enough to know when the results are being manipulated.
1) People can tell your company is filtering with google my business reviews.
How you handle reviews is key to trust. 68% of consumers trust others’ opinions more when they see both good and bad scores (Econsultancy, 2012). Customers are more review savvy and can spot when things look too good to be true. 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores (Reevoo, 2015).
2) It looks fishy like your google my business has something to hide.
30% of consumers assume google my business reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews (Webrepublic). Only 8% of consumers expect a business review to have a 5-star rating before considering using them (Brightlocal, 2016). If there are only five-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) Online Reviews that are removed will only anger customers trying to share their experience.
If your google my business doesn’t allow or encourage online reviews, your customers that have something to say, good or bad, will find it odd that they can’t leave a review for your business. Customers can still leave reviews for unverified listings and profiles, so just because your business can’t see the bad reviews, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
4) It looks like your business doesn’t value customers enough to win them back.
If you don’t allow for feedback, it appears to customers that you don’t really care about them or value customer service. If customers can’t expect good service, don’t expect them to want to visit your business. Customers like to see businesses that are open to feedback, especially the businesses listening enough to try to win customers back.
5) It doesn’t allow you to win back their trust.
If a review isn’t published, it can be very infuriating to customers. ( especially if you reached out to ask for online reviews) If your business did fail the customer, it gives you a chance to win them back. Since your business is responding to the reviewer publicly, your business can win them back and show other customers that you care about how you treat your customers. Customers like that.
6) Businesses are missing out on valuable feedback to improve.
While customers can be unrealistic with their expectations from business, some can provide feedback on possible oversights. Oversights happen to the best of us, and there is always room for improvement.
Situations when it is okay to gate reviews
Here are the situations when it is acceptable for your business to filter out which reviews are published:
1) When the google my business review contains graphic material or inappropriate language.
If the review is inappropriate, it contains explicit language or graphic material. Fortunately, many review sites are all over this, but you can flag it as inappropriate if they happen to miss it.
2) When reviews are irrelevant to your business.
Suppose a review doesn’t provide any mention or context to your business, products, or services. Sometimes customers leave reviews, but they really want to ask a question. If it really doesn’t add context as a customer review, it is okay to suppress that review.
3) When reviews are spammy, or someone is plugging another business.
If a review isn’t related to your business but is obviously spam, or if a person starts talking about their business instead of your business. In the example below, the review was for a direct competitor and was a case of mistaken identity.
4) When the google my business account review is fake or planted by a competitor (and your business knows it is).
In the case of review fraud, it is completely acceptable to suppress the review and remove it. In the example below, the person hasn’t ever been to the establishment; they just left a review to read other reviews.
Unfortunately, reviews have been used as blackmail, and this sort of unscrupulous behaviour does occur. The fact that this behaviour is on the rise speaks to the importance of practising review management and using reputation management software. If you want help determining if a review is fake or not, try the free Review Skeptic tool backed by research from Cornell University.
How can your business practice white-hat review management?
- Provide exceptional customer experiences
- Ask your customer to leave an online review (in-store signs, surveys, etc.)
- Read and analyze the review. Does it meet 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
When a review is positive, thank them for their feedback.
If the review is negative, try to move the conversation offline. When you handle reviews correctly, you can often win the customer back. If you have remedied the situation, try asking them to adjust their review. If not, then at least the customer may come back.
Use a Platform to Manage reviews.
Using an online review platform like our Customer Voice product to manage your google my business and Facebook Reviews in one area.
White hat review management visual guide
At the end of the day, people can tell that if your business is grooming your reviews. (If all of your reviews are too positive.) From a consumer’s perspective, it is better to see a business with a mix of reviews, mostly positive but with some negatives. So long as a business is trying to remedy the situation. (By responding to the customer and following the proper review management protocols) It actually says more about the business than a business with all perfect five-star reviews.