Let's look at some examples...
...a Google rating...
A 'rating' is effectively a review without content, more helpful to the business than to the consumer - because it has a positive impact on the business's overall Google score - but giving no added value for anyone looking for concrete reasons to use the business in question.
...a 'standard' review...
Better than a simple rating ('super professional', 'always followed up', 'Highly recommend'), but more detail would help consumers reading this business's reviews.
...now some typical reviews gathered through HelpHound....
These reviews are the kind that drive business through the door (or email or website). Why? Because they give the consumer hard facts and concrete reasons to use the business.
Words and phrases such as 'service has been top notch', 'totally professional', 'worked hard', 'friendly and communicative', 'went beyond anything' - all from someone who is obviously an experienced consumer in this area ('I've bought and sold a few houses over the years') and just from the first of these three reviews - provide a powerful incentive for the reader to take the next step - contacting the business.
Why are reviews of HelpHound businesses - on average - more 'helpful'?
We have looked long and hard at this question, as you might expect. The answer - based on hard research and speaking to the businesses in question - boils down to a combination of factors...
1. The businesses has built reviews into its whole consumer experience, from first contact: 'We will be asking you to write a review of our performance', through every step of their engagement with the customer (for example: the customer pays a verbal compliment - the staff member will say 'Please remember to mention that when you come to write your review') to the final request to post the review: 'These reviews are so important for us - do mention anything that would be helpful for someone in your situation reading your review'.
2. The management of the business know, and understand, why reviews are so important, and they have transmitted that to all their staff, both customer-facing and back office.
3. The customers understand why the business has engaged HelpHound - and respect its reasons for doing so (independence, moderation - for the benefit of both business and consumer - and so on).
A note for the 'Google review naysayers'
We hear it less and less now, but still we meet businesses that are concerned that their customers will not write reviews to Google. These concerns break down as follows...
- the customer will feel the request is a burden
- the customer will not want to publish personal details for all to read
- the customer will not have a 'Google account'
As for the 'Google account' issue - the latest figures indicated that over half of UK adults now have at least one kind of Google account, and that's all they need to be able to write a review without any tedious 'signing up' or registering.
The proof is in the pudding: if you look at any Helphound client, conducting whatever kind of business, what do you see? Lots of Google reviews.