How Review-Gating Can Hurt Your Reputation

Nobody likes getting a bad review.

However, the practice of review-gating does a disservice to the business and the customer alike. On the surface, it seems like having only glowing reviews would be the most beneficial to a business, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

An abundance of positive comments only serves to invoke suspicion on the part of the potential customer reading the reviews.

Review-gating is when a business hides negative reviews in order to look better in the eyes of consumers. Unfortunately, this often has the opposite of the desired effect.

It would be very unrealistic to expect five stars from every single customer, every single time, and when consumers see this they tend not to believe it. No one can be all things to all people, and that goes for businesses too.

Some people love licorice, some hate it; this is not necessarily the fault of the licorice, but beauty (or taste) is in the eye of the beholder. Even if a business has done everything right, some customers will not be happy.

On the other hand, the happy customers who do provide five-star reviews will show up as honest commentary alongside the others that are less than stellar. This is because it shows the business is forthright and does not need to pad its reviews in order to attract and retain customers.
Word of mouth and repeat customers are even more important than they once were, because of the proliferation of social media and the information readily available worldwide on the Internet. A business with a mix of reviews says more positive things about that business than an endless march of five-star reviews.

Conversely, if a business is garnering hundreds of one-star reviews, this should be an indicator that the business needs to change or improve in some way. This customer feedback is essential for businesses to thrive in the current economy.

So, what can be done? In this case, leaving the reviews as they are shows that a business is willing to be open to constructive criticism. It also shows that the business is interested in correcting faults, particularly if the business posts a polite response asking how they might improve their services.

There are some cases when reviews can be removed, for example: spam or irrelevant/unrelated topics. Sometimes vulgar or offensive material is posted, and moderating these types of comments is a necessary evil for anyone managing social media these days.

Otherwise, it is best for a business to show willing and interact with consumers as an ongoing conversation. Think about it: when you look at online reviews, aren’t you more likely to be interested in a business that engages with its customers?

Nobody wants to be ignored or silenced, and removing negative reviews will have that effect on the people who wanted to share their opinions. This will lose customers who ay have initially been willing to give a business a second chance, but they will not if they feel they are being ignored – and they will tell their friends.

Everyone wants a clean slate and a good reputation. Reputation management firms are essential to businesses as they help navigate the modern world of social media and consumer habits as well as helping manage reputation and growing a consumer base.

BrightPast is helping businesses to understand and make sense of reviews and social media, to work together for solutions in the online world.

Article by Wil Bartleman