And so it is in business. Our businesses have always been judged, by competitors and consumers alike, by our professional connections: do we employ reputable accountants and lawyers? Are our web designers well-regarded? You get the gist.
Well, now the same can be said of your reviews solution. We will illustrate this with an anecdote (names and locations will not be disclosed, but all other information is factual).
The story so far…
Back in September we were invited to pitch our review management service to a reasonably substantial multi-location business. As always in these situations we first did our homework (we call this a ‘review audit’, as every client will know). We take an in-depth look at the business – on its own website(s) and in search.
In this instance there was much to see. Beginning with Google (after all, the first port-of-call for almost all consumers): few of their locations passed the Google filter (they scored between 1.2 and 3.7 in the main). Then onto the independent reviews sites, where there was an intriguing pattern. They appeared on no less than five separate sites, but that was not what interested us – we were immediately struck by the disparity in scores between the sites – from less than 2.0 out of 5 on three but virtually perfect – way above 4.0 – on the other two.
What was happening? Well, we have been around the block a few times, and we have files bulging with evidence of reviews sites’ interesting business models, so we conducted our pre-sale conference call with the business with our eyes (and ears) wide open, and armed with the following questions:
Why have you invited HelpHound to pitch?
What strategies have you adopted in the past?
Why are those not working for you?
How do you imagine that HelpHound will be any different?
The answers were, to say the least, interesting…
1. Because the results HelpHound have produced for your clients are exceptional
2. We have tried almost every reviews solution and heard that HelpHound are the acknowledged experts
3. Because we now realise just how important Google is and you are the only one ‘blowing the Google trumpet’
4. You will help us look great everywhere we need to, on Google and on our own website
So far, so good. Or was it?
Why would the same business in the same location score so badly on Google and so well on the independent reviews site?
We needed to understand just
why there was such a disparity between Google (and one of the
independent sites) and the other independent reviews sites.
Unfortunately the answer did not bode well for any future relationship,
and it went something along these lines…
“We were sold those two solutions on the basis that we could pick and choose which clients to invite to write reviews.”
…oh dear. We explained why there would have to be a change of mind-set if they were to come aboard with HelpHound. And at that point we agreed to call it a day.
When will some businesses (and nearly every reviews site) get it? That if reviews are to work for your business, they must be seen to be genuine, not just the individual reviews themselves, but the overarching methodology of the reviews mechanism the business adopts as well. It must not favour the business over the consumer.
Goodbye Yelp – why would the biggest reviews site on the planet quit the UK?
Purplebricks and Trustpilot – how one business threatening legal action against a reviews site told us so much about another reviews site
It something all businesses should spend just a little more time on – checking how they show in search against their peers.
Let’s look at some examples…
In a specific search – your potential customer knows you, or they are responding to some of your marketing or a recommendation form a colleague or friend. They search specifically for your business. Let’s look at a client of ours (nameless for the moment)…
…Google helpfully provides five alternative businesses in their knowledge panel. What is to stop that potential client straying (Google don’t just put them there for fun, they know a percentage will click on them)? So what can the business in question do?
They can harness the power of their customers’ opinions, first by having lots of great reviews and the resulting Google score…
…which leads the potential customer straight to the reviews themselves…
…and to the three rich snippets that Google gets from those reviews…
…then they have independently verified reviews on their own website…
…that are pulled through to organic search by Google…
…to give them a star rating and score there. Which, taken all together, mean that your potential customer is much less likely to be diverted away.
Now – local search – where the customer knows what type of business they want, but has an open mind as to exactly the business(es) they are going to contact. Here reviews back up the business’s showing in the Google Maps 3-pack and in organic search…
…again, ensuring the business looks great, with eye-catching scores and stars in both.
Perform both searches on your business (we recommend our clients do so at least monthly) and see how your business is performing. Keep a record, so you can track improvements.
If you would like to see the actual numbers (in terms of increased visits and calls) when a business that is doing everything else right from an online marketing point-of-view joins HelpHound read this case history.
Any business can invite their customers to post a review to Google, and many do. Here we focus on the value HelpHound adds to that process…
1. Independently verified reviews on your own site
Just as having reviews on Google increases click-through to your website, reviews on your own website act as a powerful call to action, turning browsers into potential customers. In this example the combination of both increased click-through by 27%.
You don’t have to take our word for it; every month Google will send you a report like this, so you will be able to see the direct effect of adopting HelpHound (thank you to Curchods for allowing us to publish this copy of their Google My Business performance statistics).
With independently verified reviews you get the added bonus of stars, score and number of independently verified reviews attached to your organic listing in search anda click-through in the Google knowledge panel (see points 3 and 4 below).
2. Minimising inaccurate, misleading and fake reviews
At HelpHound, every review goes through Resolution™ – our moderation system – and any that we think may be factually inaccurate or potentially misleading are first served to you so you can engage with the reviewer. This ensures, as far as is possible, that reviews shown are an accurate reflection of your business, benefiting you and your potential customers.
3. Showing your own reviews’ score in search
The stars and the rating and make you stand out in search and gives consumers an instant impression of your business – proven to increase both calls and click-throughs (website visits increased by 27% for one client – read the story here).
4. Showing ‘Reviews from the web’ in your Google knowledge panel
Consumers have been trained by Google to use the knowledge panel as an instant reference for your business. Reviews are shown there in no less than three separate locations: Google reviews at the top, ‘Reviews from the web’ – a link to the reviews on your own website – in the middle – and ‘rich snippets’ – the quotes from your reviews that Google takes to create an impression for its users, at the bottom.
5. Advice on responding to reviews
Responding to reviews is an important aspect of modern CRM. But so few businesses do so – when asked they often say ‘we don’t have time’ or ‘we don’t have the confidence’ and, more often than you might think, ‘we don’t know how’. HelpHound supports all our clients with advice, whether that be strategic or specific, right down to the wording of individual responses.
6. Advice on appealing inaccurate or misleading reviews
One of the most frequently received calls here at HelpHound is from businesses who have received a review – on Google or any other reviews platform – that they consider to be either:
fake – written maliciously, perhaps by a competitor or a disgruntled employee, or just someone with an axe to grind
inaccurate or misleading – it does not accord with their version of events, or makes simple factual errors that might mislead future consumers to the detriment of both those consumers and the business
At HelpHound we reckon we have more experience than any other adviser in this area. We will recommend whatever course of action we believe to be the most effective and prepare a written appeal to the review site in question – including Google.
Solutions change over time – you only have to look at the profusion of reviews sites that have positioned themselves as the solution for businesses, only to fade away months or years later. Most of your will know of Yelp – the biggest review site on the planet– they invested massively in the UK and signed up thousands of businesses and then abruptly left last year.
Your business needs a solution that your can rely on for the years to come, and that means
owning your own reviews, not giving them to another business
adopting a solution that is flexible enough to accommodate changes – changes in the marketplace, changes at Google. Infinitely adaptable to act in your best interests. That’s HelpHound.
The Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) has yet to fine a business in the UK for contravening its regulations, but mark our words, it is only a matter of time. Anyone who thinks the CMA is reluctant to show its teeth would do well to read this.
And most, if not all, current reviews solutions in the UK contravene one or more of the CMA’s core regulations. Read this to see if you recognise any symptoms.
What use is a reviews solution if it results in a headline accusing a business of playing fast-and-loose with government regulations? You need professional advice on reviews and review management almost as much as you need professional legal and financial advice. We are here to provide it.
There – eight reasons. And we would humbly suggest that any one of them is worth our monthly fee on its own. DIY or HelpHound? Speak to Fiona or Karen and then make an appointment where we will answer any questions about your current strategy – or discuss ways ahead if you have yet to formulate one.
Please feel free to comment on this article – link below – and subscribe – centre right – so you can be sure to receive every article as it is published. If you need more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Five years ago reviews in the UK
were unregulated; as a result all kinds of questionable practices became
commonplace. Now, we are delighted to say, reviews are regulated by the Competition and Markets Authority.
In this article we will highlight
some of these practices and we strongly suggest that those yet to join HelpHound
use this as a checklist (if you are a HelpHound client you will not need to
concern yourself – except, perhaps, to see if a competitor is non-compliant!).
Six months ago this business had no reviews on Google, then it had two 1* reviews in succession, now it has thirteen 5* reviews – all written in the last two months. Understandable, but non-compliant with the CMA regulations which state that if you are going to invite customers to write reviews that invitation should be to all your customers
the most common: it’s often because the business has received a negative review
and they have suddenly realized they need to engage. So what would any normal
business do? It will ask its staff to ask its most reliable customers to post a
glowing review. Normal? Yes. Compliant? No.
Giveaways: Few –
or no – reviews over a period of years, then a negative, hotly followed by a
flurry of positives.
variant of cherry-picking: the business asks all of its customers to write a
review to a small independent reviews site – after that they only invite those
who have posted a five star review to copy it to Google. Ouch!
average score on a less well-known site and then a great score on Google, but
from fewer reviews.
Mis-describing testimonials as reviews
It is simple: a ‘review’ must be verified by an external source. If it is not it is a testimonial, and must not be described as a review. We have seen multiple examples of such misleading misdescription – one where the testimonials in question are even being used to hoodwink Google into displaying a star rating in natural search.
Giveaways: If the ‘review’ is taken from an independent site and displayed on the business’s site it will appear twice if pasted into Google search: once on each site; if it does not, it is not a review.
If you do decide to reward customers for posting a review make sure they are rewarded whatever they score or say – good or bad, five star or one star
for posting a review is frowned on by most review platforms, and against the
T&Cs of some. It can also backfire: we recently saw a negative review of a
business mentioning the reward that had been offered – not good PR (see below). Rewards can
be OK in certain circumstances, but everyone must qualify for the reward, those
posting negative reviews included.
reviews mentioning the reward (see screenshot below)
Besides being against the CMA regulations, incentivising customers to post positive reviews can backfire in other ways
A sub-group of
‘rewarding’ really – how about the business that hosted a party for graduates
and then asked their guests to post a review? Unfortunately multiple reviewers
used their reviews as an opportunity to thank the business for its hospitality
– making clear that they were not bona-fide clients of the business.
mentions in the review – ‘thank you for the Amazon voucher’ or ‘I look forward
to receiving my reward’
Using a review site
that filters reviews
These are just two of many ‘reviews of review sites’ on competitor sites, and they both tell the same story: that the reviewer alleges that they could not get their review posted. If this is true, and we have seen more than one example where it would appear to be, using a site like this is a) against the CMA regulations and b) hands a big win to any business that spots that their competitor is using such a system
It’s very simple
– under CMA rules, anyone must be able to post a review at any time – any
system – or business using such a system – that prevents that, however well-meaning, is non-compliant. It will also
drive unhappy customers to post to a site that does allow them to post as and
when they want – and that site? Google, of course.
Giveaways: none – unless you read reviews on competing websites; but reviews-savvy competitors and the CMA will know
showing external reviews on the business’s own site
More common than
you might think – inviting reviews to an external site and then showing only
the positive ones on the business’s own site.
simple cross-check shows this up
testimonials as reviews
Most people will probably recognise these white/green stars by now – but, strangely, the customer comments are not taken from – or verified by – that site. In fact, the business concerned does not describe the comments shown underneath these stars as reviews or testimonials, but what might a visitor to their website reasonably assume?
Again, we see
this frequently. A review is, by definition, independently verified by an outside agency, a
testimonial is invited and displayed by the business alone and the business has
total control over what is displayed.
‘reviews’ lack attribution
There are two messages here: the first is that whatever reviews system your business adopts it must be compliant with the CMA regulations (they have the force of law). The second is to use this article as a checklist against which to examine any system you might be tempted to use.
Alternatively you can speak to us. We have no axe to grind other than our clients’ best interests – so you can be sure of receiving a reliable answer.
We read ‘Think with Google‘ so our clients don’t have to (not about reviews, at least) – here is the full text of this week’s article
…and the implications are far-reaching.
Let’s look at this in more detail:
consumers – self-evidently – want the ‘best’ in any search – the ‘best’ restaurant or the ‘best’ lawyer, in fact ‘the ‘best’ of everything
Google is actually pretty bad at delivering ‘best’ – so that uplift in the use of ‘best’ as a search term is not really delivering. Look at these examples…
Top result? A hotel rated 3.8 – it just so happens to have the word ‘best’ in its name, but the Seraphine at 3.9?
‘Best’ estate agent…
Well, you cannot argue that they are not all ‘Best’, but possibly not in the way searchers want or need
One at 2.8?
And our favourite… ‘best’ financial advisors…
…currently serving a 150 year sentence in a Federal jail!
What this illustrates is the conflict of interest that is at the core of Google’s business model – and they have the key to solving that conflict, the only question is: when will they decide to use that key.
Reviews, of course.
One day soon, hopefully for those using ‘best’ as a search term, Google will base the answer on review scores. It already has them – and if it does not it is up to the business concerned to remedy that situation – and it is certainly possible to deliver, from a technical point-of-view, by implementing a simple algorithm. After all, Google is already doing something very similar with its filter and ‘Top rated’ (more on that here).
What does your business need to do?
At the core of Google’s research is the – unsurprising – finding that their users want to find great businesses, not just businesses with massive advertising budgets, but businesses who deliver great products and services – so just take some of your PPC budget and apply it to getting great reviews.
Businesses like this – this business had two Google reviews when it became a HelpHound client – already look great in search, and they can relax in the knowledge that they will rank at or near the top when Google gets round to delivering the ‘best’ in search
Strive to ‘be the best’ reviewed business in your marketplace, so when Google get around to ranking businesses yours appears at – or at least somewhere near – the top of the list.
One of the prime concerns we hear from every single potential client is “What can we do about negative reviews?”
And often we sense that the immediate response they would most welcome would be something along the lines of “we have a mechanism that will prevent them being published, either on your own website or anywhere else.”
But that’s not our response. Our response is guided by two things:
sensible business practice
the CMA regulations governing reviews
Let’s look at both of these:
Sensible business practice
Just let’s suppose, for argument’s sake, we did have a system that magically filtered out negative reviews; what would the real-world impact of such a system be?
We don’t have to look far for our answer, as there are plenty of independent review sites that operate systems that favour the business, either by denying the reviewer the right to post a review unless specifically invited or by having a mechanism that allows the business to impose conditions on the publication of negative reviews.
Both these systems have the same medium to long-term effect. They drive dissatisfied customers to post to Google – the one site a business needs to look at its very best on. We see examples all the time. Here is just one…
The same business – on an independent review site (L) and on Google (R). An increasingly common disconnect, almost always caused by the business inviting ‘happy’ customers to post to the reviews site, leaving ‘unhappy’ customers no option but to post to an open site – Google being the obvious choice
Sensible business practice dictates that whatever system a business adopts it must positively welcome all kinds of reviews from everyone and anyone. After all, Google does.
What happens next is important. At HelpHound we value our own reputation as a force for good in the somewhat murky world of reviews, and to maintain that reputation means treating both sides of the review equation equally – we have to be seen to be fair and credible to both business and consumer, and we need to be seen to be adding value in both directions. That means that the business should be fairly and accurately represented through its reviews and that the consumer should be able to rely on those reviews as an aid to their purchasing decision.
Inaccurate reviews – in this case pricing – help neither business nor consumer
Fake reviews, of any kind, help no-one. Inaccurate or misleading reviews ditto.
HelpHound’s Resolution™ to the rescue – for both parties
The full process is detailed in this article. To summarise, Resolution™ is designed to minimise the chances of fake, inaccurate or misleading reviews being published, as none of these benefits anyone.
Here’s an example. This review was posted recently:
Under the terms of Resolution™ – understood by both business and their customer – the review is first submitted to the business for comment. In this case there had been misunderstandings between the two parties concerned, as well as miscommunication (there were language issues). Resolution™ allowed for private communication between both parties and, again, as of right, the customer is invited to post a review after that communication (which can be their original review, but seldom is). This is what they did post:
Some might say that it would be helpful for both reviews to be published (and there is nothing to stop the reviewer doing so) but that would be to assume we inhabit a perfect world in which everyone communicates in both directions every time. Far too often a consumer will post an inaccurate or misleading review – often straight to Google – leaving the business nothing to do but post its own response. But that harms the business’s reputation unfairly, especially through Google’s scoring system – an unfair or misleading 1* review, even responded to by the business, remains to impact the business’s score – a shorthand guideline increasingly used by consumers to winnow out a shortlist (and by Google itself through its filter).
The CMA regulations
A full analysis can be found here. Two of the core principles of the CMA regulations (which have the force of law in the UK) are:
that the reviewer should be able to write a review at any time of their own choosing
that the business must do nothing to prevent that review being published
At HelpHound our clients incorporate a button like this on their websites so absolutely anyone* may write a review at any time…
And we promise to publish any genuine review. And this means that the reviewer can have an inaccurate or misleading review published. The fact that they seldom do is down to Resolution™.
And one final point: always remember that, whatever review system you employ, your competitors will often attempt to undermine it. If it favours the business at the expense of the consumer, or if it is seen to be non-compliant, that hands a significant weapon to them.
*This surprises some businesses t first, until it is pointed out to them that they often have many more stakeholders than they have customer email addresses: husband/wife/partner/neighbour/employee/potential customer/’friend’ of customer/professional advisor of customer and so on…any of whom can write a review of the business to Google at the click of a mouse, and often do – unless they are given a more attractive alternative.
…but only one of these will ensure that your business looks as good as it possibly can everywhere that matters, with no downside at all.
Do-it-yourself – straight to Google
Do-it-yourself – via an independent reviews site
Do-it-yourself – via your own website
Do it in conjunction with your web designer
Do it with HelpHound
1. Straight to Google
Many businesses try this at first; after all, they run a great business and no-one will have anything negative to say about it, will they?
All customers are invited to post a review to Google (All – thus complying with the CMA rules) making sure they understand that they can post whenever the wish (also compliant).
To make absolutely sure the business is complying – an invitation to post a review to Google is added to its website and at the bottom of all its email communications.
Pros: as compliant as any business can be without outside – independent – help
Cons: no independently verified reviews on the business’s own website – and the slightly nerve-wracking feeling that even those that do rate the business 5* may include inaccurate or misleading statements in their review.
2. Use an independent reviews site
There are certainly plenty to choose from – many hundreds at the last count. There are all-encompassing sites like Yelp and specialist – industry specific – sites like TripAdvisor. The core principle of most of these sites is that the business invites their customer to post a review and then the site adds value to the reviews of that business by – in some ways – adding credibility and visibility.
This is where the issues arise…
Pros: it’s better than doing nothing – possibly.
Cons: let’s look at those twin advantages. First – credibility: to be credible the solution must, at the very least, comply with the CMA rules (they are analysed in full here, but, at their simplest they state that a customer must be able to write a review of the business in question at a time of their own choosing). Somewhat surprisingly we still see non-compliant solutions being marketed to business daily.
Secondly: visibility. Independent reviews sites used to show up well in search, but over the last three years their visibility has decreased – usually at the expense of Google reviews. Google has been very clever: they still display a link to ‘Reviews from the web’ in the knowledge panel and the independent site will show somewhere in search, just not quite as often as it once did and not quite as prominently. As a business this shouldn’t worry you – it’s far more a disadvantage for the review sites than it is for businesses, who can always find a solution that plays to Google’s strengths.
There’s a 2.b we see more often as time passes – and it plays fast and loose with the independent sites and Google. The business simply asks its customers to post to a less-than-prominent independent site and then asks those customers that have posted a five star review to copy their review to Google. We first noticed this in 2016 when a large estate agency went from scoring 2.1 on Google with less than a dozen reviews to scoring over 4.0 from over fifty reviews within the space of a month. If a business’s score on Google is at odds to its score on a site it pays – we look harder (and if we look harder, you can bet that business’s more savvy competitors will do so as well – eventually).
This is where terminology is confusing (and confused, sometimes less than innocently). There are two words commonly used – ‘review’ and ‘testimonial’ – and they have increasingly well-defined meanings.
…is independently verified, by an outside agency.
…is chosen by the business and displayed by that business.
These two definitions are increasingly enshrined in law and regulation; in the UK by the aforementioned CMA.
There are no ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ here, just ‘legitimate use’ and otherwise. If you control the content of what your customers are saying about you on your own website you cannot describe those comments as ‘reviews’, they are testimonials and should be described as such.
4. In conjunction with your web designer
We sometimes see web designers promoting their own ‘reviews systems’. There are at least two variants: the first allows the business to invite ‘reviews’ to its own website and display them as such; the second allows the business to display chosen reviews from either Google or an independent reviews site. In both instances the fact that the business effectively controls the reviews that are displayed invalidates the mechanism – and we have yet to encounter such a system that would satisfy the CMA regulations.
Here we are again! HelpHound – being review managers, not a reviews website, always has its clients’ best interests at heart – and if that means…
having independently verified reviews displayed on your own website (which it almost always does)
having reviews on Google (which it generally does)
having reviews on Facebook (which it does, more and more)
having reviews on important review sites (TripAdvisor is an obvious example for our clients in hospitality)
ensuring you are compliant with CMA regulations (essential)
acting in the way you would expect any of your other professional advisors – your accountant or your lawyer – to act, being proactive with advice to keep your review management strategy current and effective
…then that is what we will do for your business.
Five key questions to ask anyone proposing a reviews solution for your business
Here’s a list of questions for anyone proposing a reviews solution:
Show me an example of what a client of your looks like in a Google search for their business – this is what they should look like: first on a desktop…
A great Google score – 4.8 – from a significant number of reviews, leading to three great rich snippets, then their own reviews: a great rating – 4.7 this time – shown, with stars (top left) and under ‘Reviews from the web’ (centre right, in the knowledge panel)
…and on mobile…
Much the same (just a different layout – with their own reviews top left). Note the rich snippet from a Google Local Guide – identified by the star on their avatar.
Show me what a client of yours looks like in a general search – [business] + [location] (e.g. [estate agent] + [Kennington]):
the Rating – in natural search for the desktop (bottom left) and mobile
(bottom right) – both derived from the business’s own reviews,
reinforcing the impression already created by the Google rating and
Show me what a client of yours looks like on their own website:
Everything a potential customer needs to reassure themselves that the reviews are genuine: the ‘write a review’ button, a significant amount of reviews and an explanation of HelpHound’s role – all just a click away
Show me where a customer of a client of yours is able to write their review (see the button in the screenshot above)
Show me where your clients promises to publish every legitimate review they receive:
This ‘promise to publish’ under our logo is what gives the business’s reviews credibility – and is vital for compliance with the CMA regulations
There’s a supplementary you might also ask “Who owns the reviews – you or us?” After all, they are your customers – you should own the reviews.
Speak to one of us and then get professional review management working for your business, getting it looking just like the one in the example above.
There are nearly a million words in the 660 articles on this blog, so there is probably an article addressing every aspect of reviews and review management anyone can think of, but it occurred to us that almost all of this can be distilled down into the answers to the five questions we are invariably asked when we first meet a potential client – so here they are:
1. How can we be sure we won’t be risking our business’s reputation?
This is the first, and most important, consideration for most businesses; while all good businesses want to see lots of positive comments they also welcome constructive criticism, but we are all well-aware of the damage a negative review can do, especially to a high-value service business such as wealth management, recruitment or estate agency. Put simply: a review criticising the colour of a pair of shoes is relatively harmless (potential customers will ‘read through it’) but a review – malicious or not – unfairly attacking a business’s core values is potentially extremely harmful, in both the short and long term.
There are two aspects of HelpHound’s service that our clients – and their customers – find reassuring: the first is Resolution™, our mechanism that serves potentially misleading or inaccurate reviews to the business pre-publication. We estimate that this enables businesses to manage over 95% of such reviews, including nigh-on 100% of identifiably malicious or fake reviews by competitors and disgruntled ex-customers and staff (it happens!) – and is equally welcomed by consumers – they don’t want to make fools of themselves, on your website or on Google.
The second is our appeals service: if a business has a pre-existing review on a public platform (Google or TripAdvisor, for example) that potentially contravenes the platform’s terms and conditions – or violates common law – we will provide professional advice on how best to appeal it.
Put simply: HelpHound is by far the safest way to engage with reviews.
2. Why shouldn’t we just use an independent review site?
Which one? And, just as importantly, will it still be the right choice in five years’ time?
Independent review sites come in all shapes and sizes, from the likes of Yelp and TripAdvisor which bestride the planet to small industry specific sites like AllAgents (estate agency in the UK only) and Feefo (online retail in the main – again, UK specific) and many serve a purpose for businesses that have specific requirements. We tend to advise against most on the following criteria:
visibility: Google dominates, so you need reviews there – and on your own website
ownership: why add value for an independent review site when you should be owning your own customers’ reviews yourself (data is money in the bank nowadays)?
compliance: it is important to comply with the CMA regulations and many independent sites do not – the onus is on the business to comply (HelpHound will ensure you do)
long-term success: reviews are here to stay, you don’t want to be changing systems every year or so, discarding valuable reviews as you go
If an independent review site is part of the solution for our clients, rest assured that we will recommend it, as we do with Facebook for nearly all of our clients and TripAdvisor and some of the other influential OTAs for our clients in hospitality.
Put simply: professional review management has all of the advantages of an independent review site but none of the disadvantages.
3. Can we do it ourselves?
Showing independently verified reviews on your own website is a proven driver of both enquiries and new business
You can always invite testimonials to your own website, they are a universally recognised marketing tool, but ‘reviews’ (legally defined as being verified by a third-party) are so much more powerful, because they carry so much more credibility with consumers.
The star rating, score and number of reviews under this business is taken from the HelpHound reviews hosted on the business’s own website – owned by the business itself, forever
To gain a star-rating in organic search like this you will need externally verified reviews. And the way you collect and display those reviews must be compliant. Here are two extracts from the CMA regulations…
This is an extract from this article about compliance with the CMA regulations
You can invite reviews directly to an external site – Google or TripAdvisor or Yelp or any other ‘open’ reviews site, but to comply with the law you must invite all your customers.
It’s easy to get a great Google score like this – you can have it with just one review – but for credibility you will need reviews in numbers, just like this, and HelpHound will give you the confidence, the tools and the support to do so
So many businesses have managed to look next to perfect on Google by hand-picking happy customers (let’s face it, if a business cannot find twenty of those it will be struggling anyway, but 200+?) without realising that what they have done is in contravention of the CMA regulations – and they have the force of law.
Put simply: why deny your business the benefits of professional review management to save £tens a month?
4. What is it going to cost – in time and training as well as cash?
Straight answer? From £60 a month (for up to 100 customers) – scaling upwards dependent on traffic – hotels, for instance, are £1 a room per month. There are volume discounts for multiple branches/locations.
We will provide you with all the training and support, both initial and ongoing, that you will need to make a success of your membership. Bear in mind that an unsuccessful member is the worst kind of advertisement for HelpHound and we’re determined that won’t happen.
Put simply: we want you to succeed, and we will make every effort to make sure you do.
5. Are there any guarantees?
If we don’t
pay for ourselves within six months of your business joining – and it’s
our fault (in other words: you’ve done as we suggest) we will refund you
You only have to look at our existing clients to see their success stories – see ‘Further reading’ below – and please speak to them too. One of our main ‘guarantees’ is the fact that we don’t insist on a contract at outset (unlike many independent review sites!) – we want you to prove HelpHound works for your business without any ties.
Put simply: join now, you have nothing to lose.
Professional review management doesn’t just get you reviews – it gets you great reviews, the kind that attract great customers
Businesses join HelpHound so they can demonstrate their prowess and professionalism to potential customers in what has now been proven beyond doubt to be one of the most effective drivers of new business there is: effective and professional review management.
It’s nice to look good in search; it’s nice to look great – in the eyes of your own customers – on your website; it boosts staff morale if they see compliments in writing, and that also aids recruitment, but it’s great to do more business as a direct result of all those factors combined!
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