How can you Moderate Reviews the Right Way?

One question we’re often asked at Trustist is, “Is there anything I can do to ensure only my best reviews show?” and we totally understand where this question is coming from.  As a business owner, or the person responsible in your business for your online review strategy, you want to ensure that potential customers and existing customers alike only read the good reviews; that they only see the positive side of your business.


However, be warned!  This is called Moderating Reviews and as counter intuitive as it sounds it’s vitally important that you don’t do this.


Really??  How come?


Well, through your online reviews you’re aiming to paint a complete picture of your business and what it means to those who interact with it.  It’s vital that readers of your reviews hear those different voices and different experiences as they read through your reviews, and anything that sounds overly moderated or reviews that read very similar to one another will strike a very firm warning bell to those reading.


Also, as we’ve discussed in various blogs before, reviews aren’t about getting every customer to award you 5 out of 5 stars.  As we said in ‘Review Scores – Why 4.9 is better than 5.0’ research has shown that a review score of less than 5 out of 5 is often perceived by consumers to be more realistic with some consumers going as far as to say that a 5 out of 5 star rating “seems a little too good to be true”.  Scepticism aside, another issue for 5 star businesses appears to be that, in the main, they have far fewer reviews.  Could it be that they are guilty of review gating? This is where a business attempts to first find out if a customer’s experience was positive or negative before asking for a review and then only asks for reviews from happy customers?


We urge you NOT to get caught up in the review gating trap.  Instead enter fully into the true spirit of reviews where you invite your customers to review you and you respond to their reviews.  If you do get a less than glowing review (and, again, we’ve discussed how and when to respond to reviews in previous blogs) you’ll quickly pick it up because you’ll be responding to your reviews within 24 – 48 hours, wont’ you?!  Respond with a sincere feeling of disappointment that they’ve had an adverse experience and provide them with either a telephone number or email address so that you can take the issue offline and resolve it.  Instead of hiding from these reviews embrace them, correct anything that needs correcting within your business so other customers never have that experience and concentrate on looking after the customer that left the ‘bad’ review.


Sometimes we can spend so much time worrying about one or two ‘bad’ reviews that we forget about all the good ones our business has received.  Reviews are powerful so what do you do with all the good ones?  Well, first and foremost it’s essential to celebrate and emphasise your positive reviews – without hiding negative ones we should add!  You can do that in a few different ways such as;

  • Sharing your best reviews across your social media channels
  • Including them in (e)newsletters and advertising
  • Adding them into your press releases and award entries


Customer reviews are powerful!  Don’t get caught in the trap of Moderating Reviews or Review Gating.  Instead embrace your positive reviews and deal with any negative ones.  Your business will thank you for it!


If you need any further help with issues brought up in this blog, or have any other questions about online reviews and review strategy please don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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