In the digital era, your company has to have an online presence. In fact, some businesses run entirely online. One way to encourage shoppers to choose you is by showing public reviews and ratings. But this only works if your ratings are average or above.
To deal with this, some companies try to hide or bury negative reviews. This is known as review gating. It’s one option when it comes to reputation management for business.
Review gating is easiest on websites you control. You delete reviews or decide what to post, to begin with. Your product or service will have a higher rating. More people will consider you.
More customers mean more chances to gate reviews. Your ratings climb even higher. This is quite tempting.
Review gating seems like a surefire way to improve your company or product’s rank. But it can go wrong. Unhappy customers may check back just to see their reviews. Even too many positive reviews make consumers doubtful because they see attempts to game the system.
If customers suspect review gating, they might accuse you. This becomes a problem when people leave feedback on sites you don’t control. Then, you will need an entirely different public relations strategy.
Some sites accept requests to remove reviews but not all. If consumers see negative reviews on public sites and positive reviews on your site, it confirms review gating. Trust is broken.
Google and Yelp have officially banned review gating. If you get caught, they might remove your company page entirely.
Responding to negative reviews shows that you care about consumers and transparency. You can turn the experience into a good one, and appeal to new customers. Some customers may change their reviews after a positive reply. If you’re lucky, they’ll spread the word about how you responded.
Only letting registered users or confirmed customers review is an option. Many sites also prevent people from leaving too many comments too quickly. This means fewer negative or fraudulent reviews.
Most companies struggle when handling harsh comments. It may be easier to try to remove bad reviews than to change a customer’s mind. It certainly takes less time. Finding a way to remove Google reviews may also be cheaper in the end. But if shoppers doubt your trustworthiness, review gating may be costly.
Only you can decide if review gating is worth the risk. Sometimes, you may have to gate reviews because of an unfair attack. Review gating might be necessary if hundreds of people have left negative reviews. Then, it’s worth knowing how to remove complaints or who can help.
But if you gate too many reviews or it’s clear what you’re doing, reconsider. There may be better options that can earn you loyal fans for life.