Welcome, welcome, welcome everybody on Top Line Live at Five! My name is Brian Devine. I am excited to have you here today on this Friday. You can see I’ve got my red shirt on for Friday. We are going to be talking about Google’s new Terms of Service when it comes to reviews.

Now, the reason that I’m bringing this up is because I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about it. I’m sure you’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about it. Even if you haven’t, it’s good to know what is going on because there are all these tools out there that help you generate reviews and a lot of us, our team included, built these tools so that there would be what Google would consider “a gate”, a review gate. So, that if somebody were to give you a negative review, the software would not ask them to then, “Please, leave that on Google Yelp face.” In other words, we’re sort of saying, if you’re going to give us a review, we want that information. We want to get it to the right people in the practice but we don’t want to share that with everybody in the world online. That’s what this software is all about.

Turn negative reviews to positive ones by asking and understanding your customer what went wrong, then, telling them you will help them.Now, what Google has done is they have said, we don’t want you to be doing review gating. Meaning, if you’re using a third-party tool and somebody is going to give you what seems to be in the sentiment of a negative review that you stopped the review and let me be clear that this is actually what Google, the same Google is saying do not do that. We don’t like it and we’re going to have a real issue with you. If you don’t or if you do that and I want to make sure that you’re hearing this because what can Google do well, what they have said is that they would be likely to remove your reviews. If they feel like your reviews are not trusted because you’re using this as gating, they can remove your reviews. That’s kind of the worst of it. That’s the absolute worst possible scenario.

Here’s the thing, Google does that already. Google will already decide if they feel like a review is not real. If it is not, a natural review, they will remove it. So, they filter reviews already. Now, what has happened is we have heard from some sort of, I would call them fear mongers. I’m going to look at my notes here because I have to get this right. What we’ve heard is that people are being told that, this can be a violation of the FTC. I want to make this crystal clear. No it is not. The FTC has nothing to do with it. If it were even remotely true, Yelp would not exist today. Yelp would be long gone. Alright? So, just keep that, you know, sort of in your back pocket if anyone’s telling you that. If that were true, Yelp out of here and Yelp is not going anywhere. Yelp is still a powerhouse, okay?

So, what does that really mean? That means that with the tools, the ones that we use if you decide that you do not want to gate. You don’t want to take a negative reviewer and then take them to our system where we ask them all kinds of questions on, “Hey, what do we do wrong? How do we make it right? Give us as much detail as you can so that we can fix this for you.” If you want to turn that off, we can do that which makes us compliant with Google’s new Terms of Service. Now, if you leave it on it will continue to actually help you kind of filter the good and the bad and your risk is relatively low as far as having it be a real problem. Because, essentially what they might do is remove some reviews which would, you know, be a disappointment. But, not the end of the world. So, you have to decide for yourself. Is it worth removing the gate removing? The ability to kind of filter the good from the bad versus just doing things the way that we’ve been for years which is working quite nicely.

I want you to also remember that this is only for Google that if we’re going to be posting reviews on Yelp, on Facebook, Insider pages, Super Pages, Yahoo, Bing, all of these other places, they don’t have this new terms. So, they don’t have this new policy. So, if you turn it off and turn it. If you leave it on, it’s good for all of them. So, I have to come and leave it to you to decide what’s your comfort level is. If your comfort level, if you feel like I am not willing to risk losing some reviews on Google, then, whatever your third-party service is, if it’s us we’ll turn it off. If it is through another company, just ask them to please turn off of the gating which is that ability to say a three-star lower. Don’t ask them to leave you a review. It’s relatively straightforward stuff for us as far as just turning it off if that’s what our clients ask for. So, we’re not really recommending that you do that just yet. Tell me, kind of see how things shake out and see what Google really means by all this. Especially, what they’re saying is please be honest. We want all the reviews. That’s the best what they are looking for is honest real reviews. That’s what our systems are designed to generate. Obviously, if we can take someone who’s upset and turn them into someone who’s happy through our system and then ask them for our review again, we’re not only compliant but we’re getting really great reviews.

The concept here again is Google wants those honest real reviews. We’re trying to help make sure that happens. Now, your people, that are, you know, that’ll say things like the FTC is going to get involved. That’s not true. Don’t be afraid of that kind of thing. The worst case scenario is they remove some reviewers.

I also have heard people saying, “Well, you should never do that gating anyway because great customer service is the best solution to any negative review problems.” Well, I think we all know that. We all make mistakes and they’re always going to be a customer or patient facing people who might have a bad day and say things that you really wish that they didn’t or do things where you thought how did you ever do that and it will result in this negative review. That’s why, we want to have this gate where we can let someone vent and let it all out and then you can solve it and turn it into a good review. So, the people that are saying not to do that because it’s all about, you know, creating good service what they’re forgetting is that when somebody gives you a negative review and you’re able, even if you get the review, you respond to the review and you say I want to make it all better and you do. It’s going to be really hard to get that person to take the review down or to to write another one, another more positive one. That’s kind of where it is.

It’s nothing for you to be really scared about. There’s nothing that is sort of a, you know, sky is falling kind of a concern. It’s just important that you understand that this is happening. That it’s only Google, not all of the different companies that do reviews. Then, it’s really up to you how you want to handle it and make sure that you are working with the, you know, third-party service that if you decide you don’t want the gate, you don’t want to have that little filter, that they have the ability to turn it off and if they don’t, you can always find another solution or you know give us a call and we’ll talk to you about how it all works. But, we do have that ability to just kind of turn that off.

Okay, that’s it for me for this Friday afternoon. I hope you’re doing great. I look forward to any questions that you might have. Give us a call if there’s anything we can do to support you and that’s it for me! Bye for now!

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