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Is moderation a good thing?

Published on 22 August, 2019

We’ve already explained what review moderation is and its benefits, but is it always a good thing? Can it be used to censor consumers and paint a dishonest picture of a business? We explore how moderation can be abused if you don’t play by the rules, and how to be sure you’re being open and transparent with your consumers.

Businesses that moderate their own reviews can be dishonest

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When a business has complete control over which reviews are published and which are deleted, it’s all too easy to simply delete any slightly negative comment, rather than focusing on the abusive or legally damaging ones. It’s not nice to receive a negative review, but no business is perfect and getting unflattering feedback can help you spot any issues and build trust with consumers, as they can see your reviews are the real deal.

Even if you’re trying to moderate your own feedback fairly, it’s not always easy to be completely unbiased when trying to work out whether a review is truthful or not. For example, if you’re a manager at a restaurant, you may not have realised that table 12 weren’t too happy about waiting an hour for their main course because they were too polite to say something at the time, but later felt the need to speak up in a review.

You need moderation

Not having any kind of moderation can leave your business open to abuse and will stop your reviews from serving any useful purpose – for you and your customers! Unhelpful, irrelevant and offensive review content will damage your brand reputation and create a false representation of your products and service.

Human moderation vs machine moderation: which is best?

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Okay, so we’ve come the conclusion that moderation is vital when collecting feedback, but do you go for a review platform that relies on human or machine moderation? There are upsides and downsides to both options.

Machine moderation

Machines aren’t opinionated and won’t take things personally like a human will. It will search for specific content that breaks the guidelines it’s been given and either remove it or flag it for human review. Unfortunately, machines often have a hard time understanding context and human expressions, so content that would have otherwise been okayed by a human may end up getting removed.

Human moderation

The biggest flaw with human moderation is bias, especially if they work for the company being reviewed. However, all of the world’s biggest tech giants, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all heavily rely on human moderation for a reason. Humans are much better at understanding context, sarcasm and what does and doesn’t break their guidelines.

There’s no perfect moderation system

Every moderation system has its issues, and there are always going to be consumers that are unhappy their review has been removed. Moderators, both human and machine, make mistakes, but there are steps you can take to ensure you choose the best system possible.

Firstly, you need to use a review platform that uses independent moderators. You, as the business, shouldn’t be able to decide which reviews you want to remove - if consumers suspect you’re removing feedback simply because you don’t like it or agree with it, you could end up losing their trust, and their custom!

Secondly, using an invite-only review platform will prevent trolls and competitors from writing fake feedback and spamming your service and product pages. You’ll know that every review you receive is genuine and from a real customer, allowing you to see where you’ve gone wrong and make real, effective changes to your business. You can’t improve your customer experience if fake reviews are skewing your data!

Finally, don’t be afraid of negative feedback. It’s tempting to use a reviews solution that will allow you to have complete control over which reviews are published and which are removed, but it won’t build trust with your customers. 81% of online shoppers seek out negative reviews and 56% would be suspicious if they couldn’t find any. Less-than-flattering feedback can build trust with your customers, as well as give you vital information about where you need to improve! If you need advice on how to handle negative reviews, download our free guide below or get in touch.

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