We thought we ought to address this misconception. Here is our answer.
In an ideal world:
- happy customers would write lots of great reviews to Google
- Unhappy customers would contact the business to give them a chance to correct errors of fact before they posted any reviews to Google
- All great businesses would look great on Google
- There would be no inaccurate or misleading reviews on Google*
- Less than great businesses would look just that
Their is often another misconception voiced alongside this misunderstanding of the interaction between the world of reviews and businesses: that any mechanism that gets in the way of a review being posted is inherently unhelpful. Experience has taught us that this is not the case. Resolution™ was not designed so businesses could bury negative reviews, it was designed so businesses could make sure that the very minimum of unfair or misleading - and therefore unhelpful for potential customers - reviews were posted. Remember:
- We will always invite the reviewer to post a review at the end of the Resolution process; it is entirely up to them if they choose to do so
- We invite - automatically - every reviewer who posts to our clients' Dialogue module to copy their review to Google
This, of itself, does not prevent unfair, incorrect or misleading reviews being posted to Google - or anywhere else. What it does do is:
- eliminate fake negative reviews: yes, we know it's illegal to post fake reviews, but just ask any hotelier whether they suspect that some of their negative reviews have been posted by competitors or disgruntled ex-staff. No fake negative review will make it through Resolution - if either we or the business suspect any aspect of the review to be malicious we will contact the reviewer for extra verification.
- eliminate fake positive reviews: we know for certain - we keep an ever expanding file of evidence - that certain businesses encourage their staff, their staff's friends and others connected with the business to write reviews, contrary to Google - or any other respectable review website's - T&Cs. At HelpHound we are fully aware that our own reputation depends upon us being able to stand behind our client company's reviews, so we have a two strikes rule if we suspect that a positive review has been posted by a connection of the business's. First occurrence: a final warning; second occurrence: termination of the business's contract with HelpHound. While it is technically possible to write a positive 'fake' review to Dialogue, our moderators have years of experience and finely honed instincts (it's another reason for human - rather than software - moderation).
- if you, on behalf of your business, 'leave reviews to Google' and your competitors do not, you run the certain risk of looking poor by comparison - in every Google search
Now, in 2016, engaging with reviews in general, and Google reviews in particular, is a must for any business. For those who do not run a significant risk of falling behind in a never-ending marathon where, once they have fallen behind, they will struggle to catch up. As our recent article said, if you haven't already: 'Just do it'.