Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The future of reviews - emoticons?

We suppose we shouldn't be surprised...

...but we will monitor the situation, and only block them if their use gets out of hand!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Killer reviews - an example

But first - what exactly is a 'killer review'? There is no exact definition, but the one we loosely came up with some years ago goes as follows...

"A review that has the potential, all on its own, to stop the phones ringing." 

 Now let's look at an example...

This is a typical 'killer' review - it is well-written and contains convincing detail. The business concerned has a handful of five star reviews as well, but these will be neutralised in the eyes of many (most?) prospective customers by a review like this. The fact that the review is four years old is irrelevant - prospective customers will invariably check out the 'worst' tab when reading reviews - and that takes this review to the top of the pile.

Some one star reviews are next to harmless (they are seen as rants, or simply the venting of the odd dissatisfied customer) but reviews like this un-tick all the boxes a reasonable person might be reasonably want ticked before contemplating making contact, let alone purchasing a product or service. A reasonable person might expect the following from any business...
  • courtesy
  • efficiency
  • professionalism
  • help
  • communication
  • response
...all of which are mentioned in this review, alongside some of the negatives no consumer - or business - wants to see...
  • "terrible"
  • "nobody answers"
  • "rude"
  • "pain"
  • "pointless"
  • "worst customer care"
  • "fooled"
  • "warning"
  • "go elsewhere"
 ...all, taken together - or even singly, are the kind of thing that stops a potential customer making that first crucial contact - picking up the phone or clicking 'visit website'. In short: a 'killer' review.

Killer reviews in context

Killer reviews can be, and often are, the only review a business has received, but not necessarily; the fact that a business may have many complimentary reviews does not, of itself, always dilute the effect of a killer review.

Nothing puts a business off reviews faster than a killer review, and that leads it straight down the wrong path - to denial. Ignoring a killer review won't make it go away, and it certainly won't prevent it from being read (on the contrary: it can often be the catalyst for 'me too' reviews).

The correct strategy, of course, is to do exactly the opposite - engage. First by responding to that killer review, then by responding to any/all other reviews, whether complimentary or not.

This has three key effects on those reading the review(s): it shows the business's side of the story, it shows that the business cares and it 'warns' anyone thinking of posting a similar review that any future critical reviews will not go without a response from the business.

The response itself...

  One of our all-time favourite responses. It wins hands down for brevity - but whether or not it wins any prizes for positive customer relations or PR is altogether debatable.

We see so many awful responses to killer reviews: angry ('how dare you!'), defensive ('all lies') and understandable ('we have no recollection'). The first two of these should never see the light of day, the third can be improved upon. Let's see...

"Dear Mr Hill, I am so sorry that we were not able to meet your expectations. We do endeavour to provide the very highest level of service for all our customers and we always explain how we carry out our work, from initial estimate through to firm quotation and then to carrying out the job. 

It would seem that confusion has arisen over the difference between 'initial estimate' and 'firm quotation' in this instance and this has, understandably, led to the circumstances you describe, where our initial quotation (and 'sketches') have been mistaken for the latter. We always return calls within two hours (as you know, we are all engaged in the workshop or on site).

If we can be of any help in the future please do not hesitate to contact me personally.

A B Smith

Managing Director"

The key elements of this response...
  • it addresses the criticism made in the review. Replying, as so many do, with 'We would love to address the issues you have raised, please email me on arthur.smith@smithandco' fails to address the concerns of those reading the review and your response. It is important to remember your audience: your potential customers (besides, in reality it is unlikely that someone who has posted a critical review will check back to read any response)
  • It is scrupulously professional and polite
  • It gently corrects misapprehensions in the review
  • It ends on a positive note

So - our action checklist...

There are basically only two things a business - in this situation or not - needs to do:
  1. Respond to every review
  2. Initiate a review management programme to generate more reviews

 Further reading:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Winkworth wins Website of the Year

Congratulations to Winkworth - winners of the Negotiator Website of the Year.  Especially to Wilfred Tienzo, their head of technology, everyone else at Winkworth and at Homeflow, their web designers.

And what did the Judges say?

“A new website designed to give visitors a better experience, to be more responsive and, crucially, generate more leads. It works!”

Here's our contribution - and see it live here.

Feeding through to this in search...

  • 'Reviews from the web' - centre right in the Google knowledge panel and right under their organic listing
  • Star rating and score from their own reviews under their organic listing
  • Google reviews - every person who writes a review to their website is invited to post a  review to Google
  • Google rich snippets - the three influential quotes under reviews at the bottom of the Google knowledge panel
...in turn making them look like this in local search...

...reinforcing the message - 'We are good at what we do, not because we say so, but because our clients say so' time after time, backing up all their other marketing efforts.

Well done Winkworth!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

New from Google - your own Dashboard

Today your business received an email* like this from Google...

 *to the registered user on your Google My Business account. 

...and one click away is this...

...which contains all your Google housekeeping in one place. Need to change your office hours? Click top left. Need to create a new Google Post? Bottom left. But most important of all, from our point-of-view: responding to reviews at top right.

After all, this looks good...

...but this says so much more... 

We always advise clients to respond to every review they receive. It not only impresses potential customers in myriad ways (you care, you look professional, you look as if you understand modern marketing) it also gives you a great opportunity to highlight aspects of your products or services as well as giving fair warning to anyone tempted to unfairly criticise (that they will be challenged).

Friday, 27 October 2017

Local Heroes? Maybe there is a better solution?

Many of your will have come across Local Heroes (they have a big campaign on TV at the moment). The business model is simple - the tradesmen sign up to local heroes and Local Heroes give them leads, for which they deduct 20% from the invoice they send on the tradespeople's behalf.

An alternative?

Take just a fraction of that 20% and get your business looking like this on its own website...

Like this on Google...

Note the search term used here is not their business name, but the kind of search anyone living in Sussex might be reasonably expected to use - and it returns our client's Knowledge Panel!

...with reviews like these...

And this on Facebook...

...with reviews like these...

Our conclusion?

We think that tradespeople would be well advised to take a leaf out of Sussex Oven Cleaning's book and get professional review management working for them before contemplating giving away twenty per cent of their earnings.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Coming soon - Small Thanks with Google

Already released in the US, Small Thanks will undoubtedly be released for UK businesses imminently.

'Small Thanks' is a way of formatting and printing reviews for display, like this...

with many options...

...but don't feel the need to wait for Google - there's nothing stopping you using reviews in your POS displays, advertising and print media now!

A plea to Google...

Please use the reviewer's name in full, it carries so much more weight then an abbreviated 'Mrs P.'

How your customers see your reviews scores

  And you can be sure they will be influenced by your score

But first - how businesses see their reviews scores...

  • 5.0 - too good to be true
  • 4 - 4.9 - great
  • 3 - 3.9 - OK
  • 2 - 2.9 - best not look anymore
  • 1 - 1.9 - reviews? What reviews?

Now - how consumers see review scores...

  • 5.0 - brilliant - just what I need, I must use them!
  • 4.8 - 4.9 - good enough that I won't need to check on their negative reviews before at least contacting them (but I will check them before parting with any cash)
  • 4.5 - 4.7 - good, but I had better check what the negative reviews say about them, just in case
  • 4.0 - 4.4 - I'll consider using them if there is no alternative and I have a pressing need for the product/service they provide
  • 3.9 or less - really? There are businesses out there with scores of less than 4.0 that are still trading? Who is using them?

But seriously... 

  Yes, that's 74% of your potential customers reading between two and ten reviews before making contact - and if you have a negative review, or a score that's less than impressive, you can be sure they will be reading any negative reviews

Yes, seriously, this is how consumers use reviews scores - as a filter. And if they want to, in mobile search Google will automatically filter any business that scores less than 4.0 at the click of a button.

If you disagree with this assertion we strongly recommend that you get a handful of colleagues and/or friends together and ask them - and read this article (it has a great infographic, and, considering its nearly two years old, and the rate of growth in Google reviews since then has been exponential, you can probably revise all the figures upwards by at least 10%).