Saturday 23 May 2020

ABC of Reviews: 7. Can we do it for nothing?

The simple answer: Yes!

But before you rush off to your web designer let's first look at the whys and wherefores. 

Free review systems

The only reviews with complete coverage and credibility these days are Google reviews, so you need a system that gets reviews to both Google and to your own website. There are many suppliers of Google reviews plug-ins that will display your Google reviews on your website: here's the one provided by Wordpress.

This video will take you through the process from start to finish. But should you do it? What are the potential pitfalls?

The downside of adopting a Google review plug-in solution

1. You will have to accept that every single review posted about your business, good or bad, genuine or fake or even written by a competitor or disgruntled ex-member of staff, will be displayed not only on Google but on your own website as well. Here's a real-life example:

This may look like a Google review - because it is - and it has been showing front-and-centre of the business's own website, as well as on Google, for the last four months. 

Now, we make no comment on the veracity or otherwise of the customer's claims, but one thing we are certain of: this review will be stopping potential customers dead in their tracks. It is what is known as a killer review (negative reviews come in many shapes and sizes: killer reviews are those that are well-written and credible, the kind that potential customers - in this case tenants and landlords - take seriously).

There's one sure-fire way of proving that a review like this is harming business and that is to disable the Google review widget and track the increase in calls and clicks through the website, for increase there surely will be. 

2. You won't have moderation. Moderation is where the business and the writer of the review have an opportunity to correct errors of fact pre-publication. If having inaccurate or misleading reviews displayed on your own site and on Google doesn't matter, go right ahead (we accept that businesses such as those in hospitality don't necessarily need 'clean sheets', that they and their potential guests or customers will weather the occasional 'my pizza was undercooked' or 'my bed wasn't made on time' review, but detailed critiques such as the one above of service businesses will impact initial enquiries through the web in general and the business's website).

These two are usually significant enough to give businesses - especially complex services such as accountancy, financial services, medical and care services and the likes of estate agency - pause for thought before adopting one of the many Google widgets on the market.

The alternative? Review management...

Review management - the downsides

  • A quick definition: a review manager works for the business to mobilise its customers to maximise the effectiveness of its reviews across all platforms: Google, its own website and the multitude of review sites and social media. A good review manager will provide all the advice and training a business needs to stay up-to-date with all aspects of reviews, both initial and ongoing.

Review management, like any other professional business service, has one obvious downside: cost. But, just as with your other professional advisers - accountancy, legal and financial amongst others - we need to be able to consistently demonstrate that we are adding value. The fact that our client retention rate is very close to a hundred percent - over many years now - speaks volumes. Clients also have the added reassurance that Google reports every month, so if leads and calls rise or fall you will know in days. We suggest....

  1. Speak to us
  2. Get a firm quotation from us before we meet
  3. Speak to one of our clients
  4. Meet us
  5. Test our system - there's no lock-in or contract period - you will know in a matter of days if review management will work for you business
You might also want to read this article which explains why reviews are going to matter even more in the 'new normal'.

The only other downside we can think of is the investment in training your staff to understand the value of great reviews, but we will take care of as much of that as you need us to.

Further reading:

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