Monday, 23 November 2020

Why has HelpHound retained so many clients through 2020?

Last month an ex-client returned to the HelpHound fold. Here we discuss what they lost by resigning and what they regained by rejoining - and some of those reasons may surprise you more than others. 

First, the part of the iceberg that is visible above the surface: their appearance in search. This is what a HelpHound client should look like:




The stars and scores - x 3 - on the left are drawn by Google directly from the business's own reviews hosted on its own website; over 75% of the business's Google reviews have come as a result of following up HelpHound's automatic invitation after the customer has posted a review to the business's website. The 'Reviews from the web' in the centre of the business's Google knowledge panel - along with the number of reviews hosted there and the overall score - are drawn directly from the business's own reviews.

And in local search, the most important search of all:




The stars - and score - that make the business's listing jump out from the screen are drawn straight from the business's own reviews - not their Google reviews. The business's rank in local search - first of at least twenty-six local agents stretching as far as three pages in Google search - is not all down to HelpHound (they do have an award-winning website), but see 'SEO' below.

Now: this is what a similar business without the benefit of HelpHound membership looks like (you can see it in the local search above):




As you can see, without HelpHound they lost:

  • Stars in search
  • Scores in search
  • Stars in local search
  • Scores in local search
  • Their own reviews hosted on their own website - see SEO below
And - perhaps most important of all:
  • moderation - the ability to challenge reviews that contain errors of fact or misleading statement pre-publication. If you are unfamiliar with this we strongly suggest reading this article

But that, as we said above, was just the tip of the iceberg. What else did they lose - and regain when they rejoined?


SEO

As far as the Google algorithm is concerned, fifteen percent of a business's score for SEO comes from hosting their own reviews. That 15 percent may sound insignificant until one realises it is just about the only factor in a business's SEO that they have control over! It is interesting to check out any HelpHound client: look for their position in local search - you'll see the impact then.







Here is Google's own advice on improving a business's ranking in search. As you can see, there are five points - from 'Enter complete data' to 'Add photos' - and we're betting that, by now, you and all your competitors have got those two plus your location(s) and working hours buttoned down. So what is left to set you apart from your competitors? That's right:

'Manage and respond to reviews.' 

So why do so many businesses...
  • not bother to respond to reviews - at all
  • only bother to respond to negative reviews
  • not host their own reviews on their own websites
  • even when they do - not bother to respond to them
It's hardly rocket science, nor is it time-consuming. And hosting your own reviews? Less than £100 a month per location. And how much are you paying your SEO agency? 


Compliance

In the UK it is illegal to:
  • selectively invite customers to post reviews - it's called 'cherry-picking' by the regulators
  • control the timing of your business's reviews - your customers should be able to write a review at a time of their own choosing
This means a business has two options: invite and allow all clients - all clients - to post their reviews direct to Google or use a system such as HelpHound, with the attendant moderation described above (alongside the SEO and marketing benefits of hosting its own reviews).

Competition

We still hear some non-compliant businesses say 'But what is the likelihood of my business being prosecuted by the CMA [for cherry-pickiing]?'

Our answer? 'We cannot say, but what we can say, for sure, is that your competitors will know what you are up to and they won't hesitate to let your potential customers know when they meet them.

The fundamental question here being 'what price your business's reputation?' With HelpHound all our clients are 100% compliant from day one - and no expensive legal fees.


In summary

We have always contended that we more than earn our fees. Our customer retention rate of well over 95% in what has been a very difficult year - possibly the most difficult year - has been gratifying.

To see a customer return like this is the icing on the cake.

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