Generating positive reviews for your aesthetic practice is essential to building your social proof and improving your visibility and credibility online. There are many different softwares and tools available, such as Magic Rating, that can help your practice turn happy patients into brand advocates, but you need to be careful.
Both Yelp and Google My Business, two of the largest review platforms on the internet have come out against “review-gating.” This simply means that you cannot selectively solicit patients for reviews and you cannot discourage patients who have had negative experiences from leaving a review. That’s a little ambiguous, so in this article we’ll dive into some more specifics.
What Exactly is Review-Gating?
Review-gating is the act of “cherry-picking” reviews, and it’s often done by sending customers a feedback or survey form, typically via email, landing pages, text message, or social media. Based on the responses from the patient they are then asked to either post a review on a review site if they had a positive experience or, if they’ve had a negative experience, share details of their feedback privately.
In short, “review-gating” allows business to ask the ideal customers and potential brand promoters for reviews while segmenting patients who have concerns into a unique followup process that keeps them away from your review sites.
Yelp’s Stance on Review-Gating
Yelp has been flagging reviews for years, so you could argue that they’ve lead the way in stopping review-gating. Yelp has made it crystal clear that their policy is that they…
“do not want businesses to ask their customers to write reviews and their recommendation software actively targets reviews that have been solicited.”
That’s why you see so many Yelp pages with hidden or not recommended reviews. Yelp does not mess around with any reviews that come with even a hint of suspicion.
Google’s Policy on Review-Gating
Back in April, Google clarified their policy on generating reviews within Google My Business. The announcement wasn’t necessarily an update to a policy, but an opportunity for Google to solidify their stance against “review-gating.”
Google’s policy for reviews can be found here. One of the key additions, noted in their April announcement, relates specifically to review-gating:
“Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers”
The one key difference between Google and Yelp, despite both being against review-gating, is that Google is fine with a business requesting reviews, provided they are compliant with their policy and guidelines.
There are many ways you can interpret Google’s stance, which leaves a lot up to the imagination. Google could be simply looking to spook any software companies or businesses who are utilizing shady tactics. After all, they now have more reviews than Yelp and Facebook.
Our advice is to make sure that any software you utilize to generate reviews is compliant with Google’s policy.
Is Magic Rating Compliant?
Yes, after Google’s April announcement we made an update to Magic Rating to ensure we were in full compliance with the new Google TOS changes regarding review-gating.
All three of our modes – Ultimate Mode, Review Mode, and Direct Mode – are in compliance. While our Ultimate and Review Modes capture Net Promoter Score in the first step with the patient, they are not “gated” from the review links. Patients are presented with the online review links no matter how they rate the practice with a Net Promoter Score.
Magic Rating does use NPS to personalize the process to the patients that have indicated that they are happy or unhappy. That said, our team directly met with the Google My Business team and received approval for our Request Modes.
Do You Want to Boost Your Reviews, But Do So Within Google’s Policies?
We can help! Many TRBO clients, including dermatology, med spa, and plastic surgery centers have been seeing great results with Magic Rating. You can check out this case study or this blog to see how our clients have been successfully using Magic Rating.
If you’d like to learn more about improving your practice reputation or increasing your star ratings then give us a ring at 877-673-7096 x2. You can also shoot us a note by filling out the form here.