Monday, 14 December 2020

Are you giving away one of your greatest business assets?


More and more attention has, quite rightly, been focused on the security - and value - of personal data online. One area of this that has mostly, until now, flown under the radar is reviews.

Let us explain: when a consumer posts a review on a review site, or a site that simply hosts reviews alongside its main business (Amazon is a good example of this) - Trustpilot, Yelp, Facebook, Feefo or any other - they do far more than simply review the business or product they have bought. They also give the review site the following (as a bare minimum)...

  • their email address
  • the fact that they have bought a specific product or service
  • the fact that they are a customer of a specific business
...and, crucially, in almost every instance, permissions to deal with that information as the site in question wishes, with few limitations. 

And that information - call it data if you like - has a value.

The question every business should now be asking itself is 'Are we simply giving an external business our own customers' data? And, if so, are we getting sufficient value for doing so?'

There is no doubting that consumer reviews, of themselves, are a valuable commodity and we would humbly suggest that they are a commodity so valuable that a business should think long and hard before 'giving' their customers' reviews to any external website, along with the valuable personal data that will invariably entail.

Our advice

In almost every instance we advise our clients to retain control of their own customers' reviews; hosting them on their own site and not therefore giving them or their attendant data to any other entity.

With one exception: Google. For the following reasons:
  • Google reviews have influence that is more far reaching, by far, than any independent review site
  • Google reviews are seen by every person searching for any business
  • Google will almost certainly already have been given your customers' personal details by your customer (they will have used other Google products and, these days, almost certainly have written one or more Google reviews)
  • Google is by far the most popular search engine (87% of the UK search market as of October 2020), and anyone using it knows that Google is tracking their every keystroke already
In addition, Google credits businesses that host their own reviews on their own websites for SEO purposes - for more on this important benefit, read this article.

So: host your own reviews on your own website and get as many as possible to Google. 


Further reading...
  • Some people reading this will be understandably nervous about inviting reviews to Google; for reassurance read about moderation and why it is such a key ingredient of professional review management


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