Review Site Policies
Only a few online review sites have an explicit policy on asking customers for reviews. The ones that do tend to discourage asking for reviews, but a few review sites actually encourage them.
Here are 4 of the major sites and how they address the issue:
Google's Review Asking Policy
Google doesn't outright say you cannot ask your customer's for reviews. They state that you shouldn't offer incentives to customer's in exchange for reviews.
Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. (For example, business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews.) Read more in our review posting guidelines. If you see a review that’s inappropriate or that violates our policies, you can flag it for removal.
Source: Google Support
Yelp's Review Asking Policy
Meanwhile, Yelp’s guidelines are notoriously stringent, prohibiting business owners from so much as asking customers to write reviews:
Don’t ask anyone to review your business, be it customers, mailing list subscribers, friends, family, etc
Source: Yelp Support
Yelp says that their software is designed to highlight reviews from people who are spontaneously inspired to share their experiences with the Yelp community. Their algorithm actively seeks out reviews that were requested, prompted or encouraged by businesses. These reviews are flagged and buried.
Yelp also has a team on staff dedicated to finding these "fraudulent" reviews.
So, be careful if you choose to ask for reviews from Yelp as there are potential consequences.
Facebook's Review Asking Policy
Facebook’s policy seems to be the most laissez-faire, requiring that reviews be about the product or service and based on personal experience:
Should focus on the product or service offered by the business.
Source: Facebook Support
The Facebook community guidelines focus mostly on reporting abuse, safety, and privacy. They don’t provide many specifics in regards to how they handle asking for reviews.
TripAdvisor's Review Asking Policy
TripAdvisor actually encourages businesses to ask customers for reviewers and provides some free tools to help with the process.
Reminding your guests to write a review is an easy way to build your reputation on Tripadvisor and in turn, get more exposure for your property.
Source: TripAdvisor Insights
Dealing with online review platforms is a necessary evil for restaurant owners, at least now you can be equipped with some knowledge to tackle asking for reviews for each platform. If you're looking for a platform to ask customer's for reviews automatically, check out Checkle's review management product and see what we can do for you. https://www.checkle.com/review-management