Monday 12 February 2018

The unintended consequence of employing an independent reviews site?

Answer: your business runs a very high risk of driving unhappy customers to post their reviews to Google. 

We see this time and again (we call it 'deflection'). In this article we will look at the psychology behind this phenomenon, so your business need not fall into this trap.

First, here are three examples of three different businesses using three different reviews sites (we have a file full of them, but these will suffice to make the point)...

Driving negatives to Google

On independent site 'A'...

On Google...

 Just to make matters clear - this score includes over 100 one and two star reviews

Getting all their great reviews where they are next to invisible

On independent site 'B'...

 With nearly 350 reviews

On Google...

 Where all their potential clients are looking!

On independent site 'C'...

On Google...

And, just in case anyone thinks a score of 3.5 is 'OK' we would like to remind them that it a) fails the Google filter, and b) contains numerous very harmful one star reviews (eighteen in this case)

So why the disparity?

We have analysed so many instances of this, and in every case we are drawn to the same conclusion: human nature is at work. Let us walk you through what is happening...
  1. The business contracts an independent website to invite their customers to write a review
  2. Some of the business's happy customers do just that
  3. Some of their unhappy customers do so as well (just over 13% in the example above)
  4. But - and here is the killer punch - many more of their unhappy customers think to themselves "OK, I will write a review, but I'm not going where the business wants me to, I'm going to Google."

Why does this not happen with HelpHound?

Because of three important factors:

The reviews demonstrably belong to our client business - not HelpHound, our role as moderator is made clear through the 'What is HelpHound' link, and customers appreciate that

  • The 'invitation to review' comes from the business, with minimal HelpHound branding (but sufficient to reassure the customer that there is an independent moderator involved - see above) - and even disgruntled customers would appear to respect that, so they do respond to the business, rather than resorting straight to Google
  • HelpHound's Resolution™ - our moderation system - allows the business and their customer to iron out any misunderstandings pre-publication, and both parties are happy with that
  • Our 're-post to Google' function enables the business to get a significant proportion of the reviews posted to their own site over to Google, so our clients look good on their own site and on Google

Job done? We think so. More importantly so do our clients.

Simple really. Get reviews where they will do the most good, for your business and for your prospective customers - on Google and on your own website; but do it safely, compliantly and effectively - with HelpHound.

Compliance note

We do occasionally come across businesses that look better on Google then they do on an independent reviews site. In more than one instance this appears to be because the business is gaming both Google and the independent site: they are inviting customers to write a review to the independent site and then selectively inviting only those that write a five star review to the independent site to copy it to Google. This is not complaint with the CMA regulations and is simply refinement of the endemic - and equally non-compliant - habit of cherry-picking (inviting only 'happy' customers to write reviews).

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