Monday 24 April 2017

Review scores: you must strive for the perfect 10 (or 5!)

It never fails to surprise us just how tolerant of negative reviews some businesses are. There appears to be a syndrome doing the rounds that says something along the lines of "4 out of 5 is great" or "9 out of 10 is amazing".

The issue at stake here is that consumers have become more savvy than most businesses where reviews are concerned. They scan reviews very quickly, and if the business in question has any negative reviews the business will experience a fall-off - in business or traffic - through the web.

Look at this typical example of a business scoring four out of five:

Do you think that single negative review is:

a. damaging?
b. unhelpful?
c. harmless?

The answer, from years of experience and listening to client feedback on a daily basis is somewhere between a and b, depending on who happens to be reading the review. Also remember that however harmless the review itself, the one star rating has affected, and will continue to affect, the business's overall score, making the answer, strictly speaking, 'a' in every case.

The score matters?

Consumers are increasingly 'score aware'. They consciously and subconsciously look for businesses that score well. More than that, Google recognise this behaviour and give their users filters in search: 'Top Rated' and 'by Rating'. 

Top Rated 

 Only the six Top Rated agents in this area - out of over twenty - show in this window

by Rating 

Top: who would enable the filter at anything below 4? Bottom: the same effect as 'Top rated' Note: Logic would dictate that Google will eventually get round to programming their algorithm to produce these businesses ranked by score - i.e. the highest score at the top.

Again - this time a hotel scoring nearly 9 out of 10:

Here are their ratings:

And here's an example of a typical low-scoring review (of which they have over 250):

This is exactly the kind of review that deflects custom - and having hundreds of them will definitely be impacting on bookings. The hotel should be doing everything in its power to minimise the likelihood of such reviews appearing - anywhere - and that includes joining HelpHound.

So: the lessons
  1. Do everything you can to ensure your customers have the absolute minimum of reasons to post a negative review
  2. Give those 'less than happy' customers an easy way to express their dissatisfaction direct to you - don't make leaving a Google review their easiest option
  3. Aim to get so many great reviews that when - and it's almost certainly going to be a case of 'when' given that no business is perfect and there are some pretty unpredictable consumers out there - you do get a negative review it doesn't impact your score and you can respond by referencing all your great reviews
  4. Set your sights high - aim for a score of 4.8/9.5 plus 
  5. Don't say 'That is a big ask' - with HelpHound on board - and providing the businesses in question have the right attitude to customer service - we would confidently predict scores like this for both these businesses

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