Facebook Ratings...Take with a Grain of Salt
Why your Facebook's Ratings and Recommendations section is likely wrong, and it's not your fault.
I think business owners would unanimously shout that they hate reviews and ratings. The stress of trying to stay on top of upset customers who undoubtedly take time to say the worst things about the service/work they received, while all of the happy clients seem to remain silent. It's something I've heard many of my clients vent about on a regular basis. Besides from sympathizing with them, I go through how best to respond, which you can read about that strategy in this blog post about replying to negative blog reviews.
The topic of this blog post resulted from a real-life hiccup with a client's ratings and review section in Facebook. However, before we dive into the situation, let's make sure we all on the same page with what we are talking about.
What is Facebook's Ratings and Recommendations section?
Facebook, like many other websites that allow businesses to create profiles, has a section that allows anyone to write a review, or as they phrase it, a recommendation of a business. In addition, they can click on a button that says whether they recommend the business or not. A Facebook user simply needs to visit the homepage of the business, and select from the top bar of options the “Reviews” tab, which is sometimes hidden inside the “More” button. See the screenshot below for how Target's Facebook page appears when a user navigates to the section:
As you can see, there is a section on the left that gives a stared rating, an option to click “Yes” or “No” if you recommend Target, and the reviews of the business on the right that you can scroll through and read. Quick note, these sections will have a filter button on the top, and have the options of “Most Helpful” and “Most Recent.” Honestly, I'm not sure how they determine what is ‘most helpful’ for my situation, but it appears to filter out the negative comments from at least the top few reviews. Maybe this is an attempt to show a couple of positive reviews before seeing anything negative? However, this is pure speculation on my part.
Want to know how to remove this section from your Facebook Business Page? See how to below.
Reviews Are Important
I don't think I need to overstate this, so I'll be brief. The power of reviews are undeniable. In one study, 87% of consumers said they read reviews for local businesses, and only 48% said they would use a business that had a rating of under 4 stars out of 5. Even more, from that same study, 79% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as from a personal recommendation.
That means it is something you cannot overlook. See a past blog post for a few strategies on how to respond to negative reviews. Hopefully, it can give you something you can use!
Why Facebook's Ratings Are Likely Broken
So now that we understand why reviews are important and where on Facebook we can find the Reviews and Recommendations page, let's discuss my client's real-world headache with their page. Take a look at the picture below. It's of the client's page when you look at the rating and review section, and unfortunately, they have a 1 out of 5 star rating. How frustrating! Yet, taking a closer look, you clearly see that this rating is based off of one review, and you can also clearly see one review right next to that rating that recommends the business.
If the stared section is based upon the “opinion of 1 person” and there's not only the one opinion to the right that you can see is clearly recommending the business, but countless others doing the same, why is there the disconnect? I had the same question and thankfully had access to someone at Facebook to ask them. What I discovered was really interesting.
Basically, the answer I received was along the lines of it's broken, and maybe we'll fix it.
We run a bit of Facebook and Google Ad campaigns, and therefore have access to Facebook's Agency Marketing Experts. One of my most recent ones, Maricella, has been amazing in getting answers to some of the questions we have about campaign anomalies. One such anomaly was why our clients ratings did not seem to match. Being stumped too, Maricella sent in a support request on our behalf. Just a few hours later, I received an email from Facebook (I've removed all identifying markers to protect the privacy of Facebook and my client) support, with the following response:
Thanks for reaching out to Facebook. I am Jude from Facebook Concierge Support and I hope your day is going well. I am the associate who investigated your concern about your Page's Review Score/Count Discrepancy. For your reference, please take note of your Case ID ######.
We identified an issue affecting how Recommendations and Reviews were being aggregated. We have launched a fix to resolve the issue, and as result, some Pages saw their Aggregate Score change. A Page’s score will update the first time someone clicks on the affected Page’s Review tab.
It is important to recognize that this fix is to improve accuracy and reflect your Page’s true score. You have the option to disable and hide Recommendations and Reviews from your Page. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.
Once we have more information about the ongoing issue, we will get back to you as soon as the update comes in.
We will proceed to close this ticket now. Thanks for your tremendous understanding and patience while we are in the midst of checking on your concern.
Once the ticket has been closed, you will receive a quick automated survey via email and it will be evaluated based on the service provided by the related agent only. It will be great if you could help us to improve by taking a few seconds to feedback about your experience with us today.
We pride ourselves in providing the best possible service for our Advertisers as we always appreciate your continuous support and understanding. For real time assistance, you may also initiate another request via chat support portal through Advertiser Help Center (https://www.facebook.com/business/help/).
Your satisfaction is our happiness! Thanks for your contacting Facebook Concierge Support. Have a nice day!
Needless to say, I was a bit shocked by their response. First, they were closing the ticket without seemingly to have done anything, or as they put it, “while we are in the midst of checking on your concern.” If you see there's a problem, why close the ticket? Second, they said a “page's score will update the first time someone clicks on the affected Page's Review tab.” Well, I went ahead and tried refreshing the screen, but to no avail. The score remained the same then, and continues to be so today. Lastly, their recommendation was to “disable and hide Recommendations and Reviews” from the page. This, as we readily discussed earlier about the importance of reviews for local businesses is not a wise move. As a reminder, I do show at the end how to do this if you ultimately decide to go in that direction.
So, What Should A business Do?
Well, do your best to give the best service you can, day-in and day-out. I know, easy for me to say. However, as this medical marketing company points out in their blog, a “[person] pays attention to everything...You wouldn’t want them to overhear negative or offensive comments because it may rub them the wrong way.” Same goes for how you answer your phone, respond in person - in both verbal and physical ways (body language) - to concerns a customer might have, and communicate digitally. By the way, even though the blog pertains to the medical industry, the advice can be applied to practically every business out there. I recommend reading it over!
Being proactive is best. Don't let you or your team let things happen that you know might lead to a negative review. Though it's well documented online, people tend to write negative reviews because they don't want others to have the same experience they did. If you can find a reasonable solution that will make the customer not feel they have to warn others, you will likely avoid the negative review in the first place. But not always...some people just like to complain.
When it comes to Facebook's Reviews and Rating section, the best thing to do is to grin and bear it for now.
It appears that the glitch is just the aggregation of the ratings, AKA the starred section. While it may be frustrating, and it could potentially hurt your business, the power of the recommendations is too important to miss out on having. Facebook's ratings are not as present as they used to be - likely due to this glitch. With people being able to review recommendations and judge for themselves, this makes the ratings even less of a concern.
And as with everything on Facebook, give it a few months and everything will be different anyway!
How to remove the Reviews section from your Facebook Page
Ok, so you've determined you've had it with Facebook's Reviews and Recommendations for good and you want the section removed from your page. How do you do it? It's actually pretty simple and if you keep reading I'm going to walk you through it. It is a matter of 3 easy steps.
For the process directly from Facebook, see here.
Are you ready to say goodbye the review and recommendations tab? Let's begin!
Make sure you're on a desktop. It will make the process easier. From your Facebook Page Dashboard, navigate to the very bottom of the left-hand menu to "Settings."
Ignore the righthand screen for now, and the fourth tab on the new left-hand menu is an option you'll want to click called “Templates and Tabs.”
Now you can look at the right side of the screen and scroll down until you see “Reviews” that has a toggle button. Hit the toggle switch. It saves automatically for you.
And you're done! That's all it takes to remove the reviews section from your page.
By the way, while you're there, if you've ever wondered how some pages seem to have a different set up than yours, this is where you can do it. There are other sections you can toggle off if it does not pertain to your business. Further, the sections can all be rearrange by clicking and grabbing one of the sections using the six black dots and moving it in the order you wish to see. The further up you move a tab on the list, the more that tab will move over to the left when viewed on the page. For an example of a recommended change, a business that does a lot of e-commerce should move their “Offers” tab right next to “Home.”