It's what a lot of businesses do now. The majority, in fact. Just look at how many plumbers in Chiswick have bothered to get their customers to post reviews:
- We cannot think of any (apart from the fact that it would save someone in your office about half-an-hour a week) but that's maybe because we have seen all the advantages of taking a proactive stance with reviews for so long now!
- You lose a massive opportunity to harness your customers' goodwill to drive new business
- You allow your competitors to steal a march - and look better on their own websites and in search than you do
Independent review sites - general
These days only one kind of review shows up directly in Google search: Google reviews.
- Reviews can be shown to potential customers, via links in emails or in person.
- They don't always show in search when Google reviews invariably do
- Beware of their business models: do they rely on pushing your reviews down unless you pay - often called 'Premium Listing" - (Yelp)?
Independent review sites - specialist
There are three ways of being listed by Google showing in this single screenshot: Paid-for advertising, the 3-Pack and natural listings. Greene & Co currently appear at the top of the 3-Pack and are the top of natural search as well. Two questions: Do you see any independent review site (specific: AllAgents or RaterAgent or general: Yelp/Yell) showing and do you think their Google score of 4.9 from 131 reviews is helping to drive business?
- They're sector specific, so you know that someone looking at them is looking for a business like yours
- You will be shown alongside all your competitors, often at a disadvantage if you do not pay for a 'premium listing' or if your rating or score is not quite as good
- Few of them will allow you to embed reviews without a link to their websites (it's never advisable to invite visitors to your website to leave to visit a site containing details of your competitors)
- You save any fees (although you should factor in time spent ensuring your strategy remains current)
- You are unable to claim that you host verified reviews on your own website (verification self-evidently must be done by someone independent of your business)
- You will need to monitor changes at Google and the relevant review sites (see under 'Professional - advantages' below)
Professional Review Management
It is all about trust: this hotels' potential guests are able to fully trust the reviews hosted on the hotel's own website - all 429 of them - because they are being reassured by the line under the hotel's logo. They also love the subliminal message that they too will be invited to post a review after their own stay.
Here we'll take the disadvantages first!
- It's going to cost you. Not a lot, and we would like to think the advantages listed below tip the balance, but it's not free
- That's it, unless you count the time spent in implementing and maintaining our recommended strategy across your business
- You will have independently verified - and therefore credible - reviews to show to every single visitor to your website
- You will be able to ask your customers to copy those reviews onto any other open website you choose: Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp and a so on
- You will have someone - HelpHound - monitoring the reviews landscape for you 24/7. Did you notice the introduction of the Google review filter? On January 1? We did. When did we tell our clients about it? On Tuesday January 5 - the first working day after its introduction. The Google Magic 7 replaced by the 3-Pack? Same. Advice to our hotel clients to take care with TripAdvisor's modified Review Express? Within a week. Important and relevant advice - when you need it
- Full support: had a negative review - on any site? We'll advise you. Need to understand your G+ page(s): We'll explain them. Cannot wait to dovetail your reviews with social media? We'll show you the best way to integrate them with Facebook, G+ and Twitter.
If we discount the first option (doing nothing) and the second option (getting reviews to sites that don't show in Google search) the choice is yours; if we have said enough to convince you to at least speak to us about going the professional route just speak to Fiona Christie or Karen Hutchings today.