Friday 22 June 2018

'Falling to Four' - the inevitable consequence of unmoderated review management

As regular readers will now, at HelpHound we like to coin a phrase ('resolution', 'deflection',  'review management' - we think we may even have invented 'moderation' in the sense that it relates to reviews), well here's another one to add to the list.

'Falling to Four'

'Falling to Four' is what happens when a great, well-managed and consumer-engaged business becomes proactive in the reviews space.

It means that no matter how hard the business tries to keep its score where it needs to be - as near to a perfect 5 as possible - its score, on Google or any other site will fall towards, and often past, the Google filter at 4.0.


Because of human nature. When a business decides to become proactive with reviews (as all business should be) and therefore invites all its customers to post a review (as the rules state it must), roughly twenty per cent of those reviews will be negative - scoring the business one or two stars. The reason that so many reviews (remember we are discussing good businesses here) will be negative is simple: a dissatisfied customer is about fifteen times more likely to write a review than a satisfied one.

Let's look at some numbers - and then some examples. Let's say the business - over a period - invites a thousand customers to write a review (all they do is send an email, no incentive, no follow-up). What do we think the response rate might be? About 3% perhaps? That's thirty reviews.

Let's look at the motivation behind those thirty reviews - it will be one of two things...

  • the business did a great job
  • the business, in the opinion of the customer, did a bad job
But then we need to apply our multiplier ( x 15 remember?). If the business has managed to satisfy 97 out of 100 of its thousand customers that leaves a pool of 970 happy customers and 30 unhappy customers.

To reduce the business's score from 5.0 (assuming their very first review scores them 5 stars) to 4.0 only six of those thirty need respond. And they will!

In this example nine out of the thirty-nine reviews posted are negative...

...and here they are again on an independent site...

...'Falling to 4' again.

There is only one solution that we know of...

...and it's not 'cherry-picking' (selecting happy customers to write reviews - against the CMA regulations - see Point 4 here).

We call it Resolution™.

There's a very detailed explanation here - it is essentially an advanced form of moderation. It is not designed to filter out negative reviews or to give the business any unfair advantages. What it is is a mechanism designed to add value for all concerned...
  • value for the consumer, by improving the accuracy of the reviews
  • value for the business, for the same reason
  • value for Google, for the same reason enabling the business and their customer to engage if the review contains any potentially inaccurate or misleading statements.

No one benefits from inaccurate reviews - and we see them every day. When we first introduced Resolution™, some years ago now, we wondered how consumers/reviewers would react - the numbers continue to amaze us: over 95% of reviewers welcome the opportunity to address the issues Resolution™ brings to their attention - partly because, under the HelpHound system, they know that they always retain the right to have whatever review they wish published, even if it is at odds with the facts (remember, businesses have the right to respond).

In addition, our system - which automatically invites everyone who posts a review to copy it to the business's Google page - is blind to the content or score of that review.*

*We know of at least on reviews site that has a superficially similar mechanism, minus the invitation to post to Google, but when the review is finally published it is published as of the date it was originally written; this benefits the business in question because it can often result in the review being pushed down onto page two. HelpHound reviews are always posted to the date of final publication.

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