The flaw at the core of the best DIY solutions...
Over the last 6 years we have watched with interest as some market leaders in their respective fields have embraced the concept of consumer reviews - and formulated some of their own in-house solutions; and then we've spoken to the consumers themselves. Here are some examples...
The major group who embarked on DIY: "our regular guests from our loyalty program are bound to love us..."
Credibility: 2 stars: You only invite guests on your loyalty program??? You promise me you don't filter negatives?
Results: 2 stars: They found out that the guests on their loyalty program weren't that loyal after all (many had no option but to stay with that hotel group - it was their employer's choice). And potential guests were still going to TripAdvisor for unfiltered opinions.
The 'testimonials' solution:
"We'll put every (positive?) comment on our website."
Credibility: 2 stars - we're not saying they make them up, but not one single gripe, not one client even remotely disgruntled?
Results: 2 stars "You can fool all of the people...
The bottom line
For reviews to be credible they must be independent - either from an external site like TripAdvisor or AllAgents, or (surprise!) HelpHound. The biggest turn-off for any potential customer is a solid stream of uncritical 'testimonials' - in 2013 it's become worse than nothing at all because it's even more likely to drive them into the arms of an independent review site.
If you look at any of our clients' websites you will see that verified reviews (as opposed to testimonials), even if they do award the business 4 or 5 stars, include helpful comments (helpful to both the business and the potential customer) like:
|This, by including the word 'eventually', was the most negative thing anyone had to say from 97 reviews about this agent client!|
The key here? CREDIBILITY...
And our solution? Dialogue - where you can interact with your customer before they post a negative