Tuesday 14 December 2021

Rewarding our clients for success

Many of you will have read articles - here and elsewhere - extolling the virtue of achieving critical mass with reviews. Before we explain how we intend to 'reward' clients for achieving this, perhaps we should define 'critical mass'.

Our definition is simple, to begin with anyway: it is the point at which your prospective customer (or client, or patient) begins to be really - and properly - influenced by your business's presence in the reviews sphere.

There are two main constituent parts of that 'influence':

1.  Numbers. Pure and simple. 

Businesses need to have 100+ Google reviews per location. 

In order to achieve this businesses can adopt one of two strategies. 

High risk

Simply invite customers to post reviews direct to Google. Suitable for businesses where factually inaccurate and potentially misleading reviews, if and when posted, will do a minimum of harm. Readers may think such a business is a rare beast; in the service sector it most certainly is, but in retail most businesses can weather such reviews, as long as they don't become a constant theme. 

Minimum risk

First let us state the obvious: that there's no such thing as a no-risk review management strategy. We completely understand why we are often asked if such a thing exists - building a business's reputation is a long hard slog and losing it is all too easy in these days of abundant social media. But the rewards of getting review management right are manifold, and well worth both the effort and the minimal risk - and added benefits (see *below) - presented by this strategy.

To militate against the aforementioned factually inaccurate and potentially misleading reviews a business must adopt a moderated review management strategy. This involves first inviting reviews to the business's own website via a third party - HelpHound preferably! - whhich will moderate each and every review ('moderate' being accepted industry-speak for 'checking and, if need be, referring back to the reviewer').

The downside, and we have never met a client who actually considered this to be a negative, is that to achieve the magic number of 100+ Google reviews the business will have to achieve roughly double that to its own website.

*The advantage alluded to above is that over 60% of all consumers - that figure is higher for service and professional businesses - first visit a business's own website before making first contact. Having reviews displayed there is, therefore, a big advantage (it's proven to increase contacts by between 20 and 30 percent) but it also benefits the business's SEO (Google loves independently gathered and displayed reviews) and show in search. See this...

Our client: heading local search with 236 reviews scoring 4.9 out of 5 and five glowing gold stars. You might be surprised to know just how many consumers think that those stars and scores are awarded by Google when, in fact, they are derived - by Google - straight from the reviews hosted on the business's own site...

Interestingly any sacrifice a business makes by adopting the second - low risk - strategy, in terms of pure numbers (there will be a fall-off - we have never seen a business succeed in getting 100% of customers who post to the business's own website to copy their reviews to Google) will be more than compensated for by the punch delvered by the reviews hosted on the business's own website and, most important of all, the reassurance, for the business and its potential customers, that the likelihood of a factually inaccurate or potentially misleading (or even downright malicious) review seeing the light of day is minimised.

2.  Quality. 

Good quality reviews reflect well on businesses. High quality potential customers identify with high-quality reviews.

A review like this...

Will always carry far more weight and influence than a review like this...

How to get this kind of quality? We have definitely learned the answer to that question over the years. It is a combination of the following:

  • personalising the invitation: an invitation from a member of staff who has had contact with the reviewer will always eleicit a better review than an anonymous 'corporate' invitation
  • building the review into the sale: when staff mention reviews from the outset - 'have you seen our reviews? We always invite our customers to write one' - defuses any objections straight away (as well as supporting the sale)
  • stressing the importance of the Google review: those clients that mention this to their customer as early as possible get the best results. Often in excess of a 50% success rate. There's hardly anyone on the planet who doesn't know how to write a Google review these days and most savvy customers know just how valuable they are for businesses. 
  • it may sound glib, but some version of 'don't bother thanking me, I'd much rather you wrote a review' often works wonders
  • using the right mechanism: sending the email followed by a brief phone call is an unbeatable solution; invitations by text don't produce quality reviews

So: what about the 'reward' in the title?

We want to incentivise our clients to get to 'critical mass' as soon as possible. We have seen examples where it has been achieved in a matter of weeks, but it does require some effort, from both management and staff. 

The incentive?

We propose to reduce our monthly fee by 50%* - once our client has achieved the following for each location...

  • 200 reviews to their own website
  • 100 reviews to Google


Always remember: we are here to help and advise, every step of the way. 

*this discount applies to clients not already in receipt of any other reduced fee scale


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