Friday, 23 March 2018

There is a better way - seriously!

Here are two examples of businesses that presumably think they have reviews taped - but don't. They differ in the detail, but the results end up being very similar - they put customers off the business that's paying for the opposite.

The cruise line

In today's Times there is a double page advertisement - and prominently displayed in the bottom right corner, where advertisers know their readers are most likely to look, an invitation to check out the business's reviews on a reviews website...





  With a page at the Times costing well north of £20,000, this is serious spend in anyone's book





Before we look at that site, let's take a look where the overwhelming majority of consumers look these days - Google...



Now the reviews site...




 And a simple scroll down...





You can see from the time stamp on these two reviews that we have not 'cherry-picked' them - they were the two most recent reviews when we visited the site today


With one in five of their reviewers - 22% to be precise - rating them one, two or three stars (and a three star customer is hardly going to be writing a glowing review - or returning) then the business is effectively paying to promote the opinions of its dissatisfied customers. Laudable you might say - offering their prospective customers a range of opinions - except for one thing: some of those opinions are either misleading, inaccurate or factually incorrect. This helps no-one, not their prospective customers nor the business itself. There is - as all our clients know - a better way.

The other very simple questions we are asking ourselves - given that P&O could very easily invite its customers to write a review to Google is 'Why pay to have the same result on a site with less visibility than Google?' and 'Why does the bottom right of your advertisement not say 'Customers rate P&O cruises **** on Google'? Would your prospective customers not be just as happy reading Google reviews - that anyone can write, whenever they choose?


The estate agent

This one is a little more complicated, but bear with us, it may well result in you choosing the right reviews system for your business. 

Since we have no evidence to say that anything the business has done was willfully non-compliant we have redacted the business's name, but rest assured we have a file containing all the relevant screenshots.

The facts of the case...

Here is a screenshot of the business's Google score today...



What is so interesting - or unusual about that? The first thing is the pattern of reviews written to Google. here it is...



  All posted on 3 September - along with dozens more

The second thing is the date they contracted a reviews site? You guessed it - around the end of 2016 - how do we know? Because they issued a press release (Oh! And 342 reviews - nearly 10% of all the reviews they have - almost all 5 stars, were written in a week between 3 and 10 September)...


 Note the date of submission - alongside dozens more



The pattern on Google is interesting as well...


Another interesting set of statistics - before they joined the site the breakdown of their reviews was as follows...




And now?



Now we can say for sure that joining the independent site improved their image there - but on Google? We have said it before, and we will continue to say it as long as it applies...


"Adopting an independent reviews site drives unhappy customers to write their reviews to Google"



Further Reading...


  • Everything a business does that is reviews-related must be complaint with the CMA rules - here's a summary of them.
  • More thoughts on the impact an independent reviews site has on Google scores and reviews

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