Customer reviews are an important part of running a successful business, giving you valuable insights and feedback that allow you to improve and grow.
Reviews and feedback can come from a number of sources: your website, product pages and even third-party review websites. Collecting reviews from a third-party source has a number of benefits, including improving conversion rates, transparency and demonstrating trustworthiness, but there are some drawbacks to letting anyone and everyone leave your company a review – especially when they are accessible to the public.
In this article, we explore the differences between closed vs open review platforms.
What is a closed review platform?
A closed review platform means that only verified customers are able to leave reviews. It doesn’t mean that your reviews are hidden; in fact, everyone can see the same volume of reviews whether your platform is open or closed. It just means that only people who have recently purchased are able to leave reviews for your business, products and services.
What are the benefits of a closed review platform?
There are a number of benefits to keeping your review platform closed:
1. Gathering authentic feedback
One of the main strengths of a closed review platform is that all feedback is more likely to be authentic and honest. One of the issues with using an open review platform is that it’s not always possible to understand how valid the complaint is, and your competitors may leave you poor reviews. With a closed platform, this is far less likely to happen as customers need to be invited to leave a review, which means you can focus on understanding and addressing the authentic feedback only.
2. Limiting the volume of fake reviews
Unfortunately, fake reviews are 10 a penny. Whether it’s a competitor, hacker or someone random off the street, it’s difficult to monitor, hide or delete every fake review. A closed review platform means that you don’t have to worry about fake reviews.
3. Focus on your recent customers
A closed review platform means that even if your customers have had a poor or unhappy experience with you, you can focus on addressing their issues quickly.
Research by The Harris Survey found that of the customers who received a reply after posting a negative review, 33% went on to post a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review. By prioritising your response to reviews from genuine customers only, you can increase your customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
What is an open review platform?
An open review platform allows anyone to leave a review about your company or products. You can still use an open platform to ask for feedback from verified customers, but other people can leave public reviews of your business, too.
What are the benefits of an open review platform?
While choosing an open review platform can open your business up to vulnerabilities (such as fake reviews), there are a number of benefits to keeping your reviews open:
1. Scale the volume of reviews quickly
By keeping it open, you’re able to gain a much larger volume of reviews. If they’re mostly good reviews, this can mean you benefit from the reviews quicker. For example, if you’re trying to create reviews for the SEO benefits of schema markup, or on Google My Business to promote your business locally, keeping your reviews open will help you to achieve this sooner.
2. Short-term outreach
If you need a short-term boost, you can ask previous customers, colleagues and partners to leave reviews without them having to make a new verified purchase. This can help you to quickly increase the volume of your reviews, demonstrating trustworthiness and a good product offering.
3. Quicker feedback
One of the good things about open review platforms is that anyone can leave a review. In the majority of cases, the reviews you receive will be from real customers and, by having a more open review process, it might be easier for customers and prospects to leave their feedback.
This means you’ll quickly gain insights on your processes and customer service as well as product feedback, allowing you to make adjustments to your business strategy quicker in order to address your customer pain points.
Ultimately, businesses must decide for themselves whether to choose an open or closed review platform. Remember to keep in mind the point of reviews: to increase customer trust, understand negative feedback and enhance your credibility as a business. So, whether you opt for an open or closed review platform, be sure to keep the customer experience in mind.