Monday 13 October 2014

HelpHound's Dialogue™ v. DIY

It is a question we are often asked, and to find the answer you need to understand exactly how Dialogue works (and just how damaging just a single negative review can be).


Dialogue enables you to invite reviews from all your clients, first to your own website and then to Google. In this single sentence are three of the keys to Dialogue's effectiveness:
  1. All your clients: if you are to effectively head off negative reviews to Google, those clients most likely to write them must be invited to post through Dialogue. That way they won't need to resort to Google (or any other review site)
  2. To your own website: Potential clients visit your website, and you need to display credible reviews there (not testimonials) to make sure they respond to your calls to action
  3. Then to Google: Only when you have addressed any issues their review might have contained does Dialogue then invite your client to post there

Many businesses have embarked on their journey with Google reviews without the benefit of Dialogue. They take the obvious route:
  • They choose clients who they 'are sure' will write a great review

The first problem with this solution is that it puts a heavy onus on your staff to be accurate in their choice of reviewer. Barely a day goes by when we don't send a review (through Dialogue) to a client who is surprised by the content. If only we had a penny for every time a client said 'We were sure that they were happy.' With Dialogue all that happens in private.

The second is that it leaves the back door wide open, especially if one your less than happy clients hears that you have been inviting reviews from others. We are not saying that no-one ever writes a negative review to Google once they have been invited into Dialogue, but it is an extremely rare event. And if it does happen, the business will always have the moral high ground: they will always be able to say 'We have dealt with this complaint, and we invited our client to make it.' You need to be able to look all your prospective clients squarely in the eye and say 'We invite reviews from all our clients.'*

The third is that you hand a stick to your competitors if you are seen to be cherry-picking: "Oh yes, ABC Ltd, of course they look great on Google - but that's because they only invite their happy customers to post reviews".

The fourth - and perhaps the most important - is that you won't have verified (and therefore credible) reviews on your own website; every business invests heavily in their own website and one of the most powerful new business drivers you can host on your site are credible, independently verified reviews.

Single negative reviews are damaging

Sometimes our prospective clients will say things like 'The odd negative can't be that damaging'. Even 'they add credibility'. The first problem with negative reviews on Google is that they impact your score (however mild the content of the review), the second is that negative opinions beautifully formatted by Google carry weight: they are read and they are believed.

Cropped to spare the estate agent's blushes! Reviews like this do put prospective clients off - as well as hurting your score

A salutary lesson:

A new client decided to invite their 'top 20' very best clients to write reviews to start with; the invitations were duly sent out, the follow-up calls were made. 

Thirteen reviews were posted, but to our client's astonishment they were not all 5* (although eleven were); the remaining two consisted of a 3* and a 1*. The 3* contained a pretty standard billing query which was easily resolved, but the 1* was written by a client who was seriously upset because a 'friend' had told them that they should 'not have sold when they did' as it was 'obvious' that the value of their property would continue to rise. This was resolved with some careful handling; had it been published (anywhere, but especially on Google) it would have had the potential to do serious harm to the agent in question.

So that's why you need Dialogue: because you can never be absolutely sure your customers' comments will be fair and accurate. It's one of the main reasons we introduced Resolution™ - as a safety net where unforeseen issues can be resolved - in private and to the satisfaction of both parties.

HelpHound adding value

There is a reason we don't lose clients. Partly it's because Dialogue works - in the strict financial sense: it more than pays for itself. But its also for less tangible reasons...
  • You will know you are right on top of reviews - all the time, whatever happens - because you have professional review management. You're never going to find out the latest change at Google from a competitor
  • All your staff will appreciate the discipline embedding Dialogue brings - no more focusing on reviews during a lull in business, they will become part and parcel of your day-to-day operations
  • You will come to appreciate the personal contact you have with HelpHound, at whatever level; we are always there to provide and apply our expertise on your behalf
At the end of the day it is all about control. And every business wants maximum control over what is being said about them online; Dialogue gives you that control in a way that is universally appreciated, not least by your own clients.

*This proves a real winner when introduced into the sales process: prospective clients love to be told that they 'will be invited to write a review at the end to the process', it impresses them that they are dealing with a business that will stake their reputation on each and every deal.

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