Friday 27 October 2023

The 'Multi' review invitation - and why it has so many hidden benefits

The original purpose of the 'Multi' - inviting reviews to the business's website and to Google simultaneously with both links in the same email - was to enable established clients to simplify review gathering. A 'one email covers all' solution.

Why only 'established' clients? The rationale was simple: inviting both reviews simultaneously ran the risk that a customer might submit a review containing errors of fact or misleading statements directly to Google, thereby bypassing HelpHound's moderators. 

Ten years of experience shows us that...

As you might expect, we spend quite a while analysing numbers and other data here at HelpHound. And we have a lot of numbers to crunch. Amongst the most important of all of those is the difference in outcome for businesses inviting their customers to write a review directly to Google as compared with those that use the two HelpHound routes...

Route 1 is as follows: send an email to the customer asking them to write a review to the business's own website (including the direct link supplied by HelpHound), call the customer to ensure a high conversion rate, then HelpHound sends an automated email to the customer once their review has been moderated and posted to the business's website asking them to copy and paste their review to Google*

*Back in the day only about 50% of people could write a Google review, they needed a Gmail address or some other Google account. Over the years almost everyone has had reason to log into Google or one of its multitude of services. You will find that these days almost everyone can write a Google review. 


Route 2 consists of: sending a single email with two links (see screenshot above) - one to the business's own website and one to their Google page. The follow-up call is made in exactly the same way except the caller's objective is to get the customer to write a review to either or both of those locations.

This latter email is known to us internally and to many HelpHound clients simply as the 'Multi', short for 'multiple invitation' (it can include other sites as well - we had a client who needed to boost their presence on Trustpilot recently, so we simply included a link to their listing for a few weeks). Now back to the numbers (which will explain why we don't advise new clients to use the Multi straight away). 

A business has three options...

We've all seen and read them. But you owe it to your business and to readers who will rely on the review in question to have chance to interact with the reviewer before a potentially factually inaccurate or misleading review is posted for all to see

Option 1:The business invites its customers to write their reviews directly to Google. It will receive, on average, a one-star review every 15-20 reviews. Those one-star reviews may or may not be factually accurate or potentially misleading. What is sure is that the reviews will stand (the likelihood of a successful Google appeal against a factually inaccurate or potentially misleading review is vanishingly small). Those one-star reviews will be served in every Google search, and be especially damaging when the searcher uses Google's 'Lowest' default.

Option 2: The business only invites its customers to write a review to its own website, using the HelpHound module. That way it will receive a one-star review every 30-40 reviews. Why the disparity in numbers? From our extensive experience of studying how our users - both business and consumer - behave the conclusion that we have come to is that reviewers are far more careful with the wording of their review when they know, for certain, that the business, and the person they have interact with at the business, will read what they have written. Put simply: people are far less likely to write ill-considered negative reviews when they know they will be read by someone with whom they have interacted. HelpHound then automatically invites the reviewer, once their review is published on the business's website, to copy their review over to Google. Most of our clients achive at least a 50% success rate when following this up with a phone call. 

Option 3: The 'Multi'. Inviting both reviews in the same email. This results in even fewer one-star reviews, sometimes as few as one or two per hundred reviews. Why? Because of a combination of the factors already alluded to above. Customers with negative issues to air are far more likely to choose the 'Write a review direct to the business' option. Mostly because there is an implication in the invitation that it will be read, and therefore acted upon. Happy customers, on the other hand, are far more likely to choose to write their review to Google, in the knowledge that it will be seen by prospective customers of the business and therefore help the business that has helped them.

Hence our invariable advice: to discount Option 1, the 'Direct to Google' option altogether: it is far too high risk for professional and service businesses - and we have seen too many businesses over the years harmed - and by 'harmed' we mean 'literally stopped the phones ringing' in extreme cases -by factually inaccurate or misleading reviews that would have been corrected in moderation, to use Option 2 until they have at least double figures of Google reviews scoring 4.8+, and then to use Option 3, the 'Multi', thereafter.  


There are only three ways for a great business to look as great as it can be where reviews are concerned:

  1. Be perfect - and have perfect customers. There are such businesses, but they are few and far between. No matter how hard most businesses try to please all of their customers all of the time there will be those who misunderstand or simply get the wrong end of the stick 
  2. Adopt a moderated review system - and use it all of the time. Invite every customer to write a review and have all their subsequent responses independently moderated (a business cannot legitimately moderate its own reviews - the conflict of interest inherent in this is obvious)
  3. Adopt a moderated review system but allow customers to choose where to post their review - via the moderated system to the business's website or directly to Google
Bear in mind that everyone who writes a review to the business's own website and has it moderated - they all are - and ultimately published there, will, in the case of HelpHound, receive an automatic request to copy their review to Google. 

Now you know exactly how all our - great - clients have their hard work and expertise reflected in their reviews. And why those reviews tend to be more helpful to prospective customers of those businesses than the average review on Google (or Trustpilot or any other site hosting reviews, for that matter). Our results, we feel, speak for themselves.

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