The Impact of Review Gating on Consumer Trust: Understanding the Risks and Solutions

Review Gating

What is review gating?

Review gating can be described as a way of restricting reviews by placing up “gates” for less satisfied customers. In other words, it involves selectively allowing or encouraging positive reviews from only happy or satisfied customers to write about their recent experiences, essentially eliminating bad reviews or driving them to private channels.

Why is this bad?

Suppressing negative reviews goes against Google’s review policy, which explicitly prohibits review gating. Not only does it skew the overall online reputation of a business, but it also undermines the authenticity and transparency of customer reviews. Over time, this erodes consumer trust in your business, leading to a decline in sales and increased customer churn.

This will undoubtedly result in long-term damage to your brand’s reputation, making it harder to attract new customers and keep the ones you have. Trust will need to be restored, which requires significant effort and investment.

Are there any other possible penalties?

Yes, businesses that engage in review gating risk penalties such as expensive fines from Google or being banned from the search engine altogether.

How to avoid review gating and build trust

To avoid the risk of review gating, ensure that you’re not selectively soliciting positive reviews from only satisfied customers. Just ask everyone for their feedback.

Plus, using a comprehensive marketing service like Mitchell 1’s SocialCRM will help ensure you are handling reviews the right way. Customers should be given the opportunity to share their honest feedback, regardless of the situation.  In the event of a negative review, for instance, SocialCRM enables shops to request a review “ReScore” to mitigate the issue and improve ratings.

Customer reviews offer invaluable insights into your shop’s strengths and weaknesses from the customers’ perspective. Instead of shying away from negative reviews, use this feedback to continually enhance your services, paying attention to recurring themes in both positive and negative reviews. This approach promotes a strong brand image, cultivating consumer trust and loyalty.

In today’s digital landscape where trust is paramount, Mitchell 1’s SocialCRM empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of online reviews and build lasting relationships with customers through transparent and genuine feedback.

About the Author

Marcus Mackell

Marcus Mackell is the Director of Mitchell 1's SocialCRM shop marketing product line. He joined the company in 2003 and has been in the automotive social media & retention business for over 17 years.