Managing online reviews

Online reviews need to be managed as customers are increasingly relying on them to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Online reviews provide information about your business’s products and services based on the opinions of customers. Reviews can be found on a business’s website, social media, blogs or third party review sites.

Managing your online presence helps monitor customer satisfaction and provides leverage from criticisms to improve your business. However, businesses need to ensure their reviews are honest, genuine and not misleading. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is responsible for enforcing action for misleading and anti-competitive conduct.

Here are some ways to ensure your reviews are not misleading:

Be transparent
Customers should be informed about the commercial relationships between review platforms, reviewed businesses and reviewers as it has the potential to impact on competing reviewed businesses. Offering incentives in exchange for reviews is allowed, however, incentives should be offered regardless of whether they write something negative or positive about your business. Encourage customers to disclose any incentives in their post and ensure the operators of a specific review website are informed.

Avoid editing and removing reviews
A review may be deemed misleading if it does not reflect the opinions of the reviewers. The selective removal or editing of reviews, particularly unfavourable or low reviews, by review platforms for commercial reasons may be considered misleading.

Be honest
Do not publish or post misleading reviews where reviews are presented as unbiased, but were written by the reviewed business, a business competing with the reviewed business or a third party, such as a marketing firm, on behalf of the reviewed business. They must not be written by someone who has been paid to to write the review but has not used the product yet written an inflated review to receive a monetary or non-monetary benefit.

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