This was brought home to us by one of our staffers; his girlfriend wanted a new bicycle, so he went through all the possible solutions: specialist dealer, eBay, Gumtree but he (alongside millions of us) had seen Halfords latest TV ad:
So, just about to jump in the car on Saturday morning, he searches for the nearest branch. This is where it starts to go pear-shaped: the first thing he is immediately struck by is his local branch’s Google score…
Then the rich snippets….
Then the reviews themselves…
|Don’t for a minute think that this branch (Wandsworth) is unrepresentative – check out your local branch|
Now, he’s a review management professional, so he knows from hard experience that Google reviews are inherently biased towards the negative, but he doesn’t make it as far as the car (and his girlfriend still has no bicycle).
Funnily enough it’s not so much the reviews themselves that put him off; it’s the fact that Halfords don’t appear to care about them. Not a single response from the business, and no discernible effort to encourage happy customers to write reviews (a pattern repeated country-wide).
Now – if this were a little independent bike shop, with tight cash-flow and limited marketing resources, then maybe all would be forgiven – but we are talking about a company which (at last count) has committed £12 million a year to promoting itself.
Surely a tiny percentage of this should be allocated to professional review management?