In the realm of financial advice, we’re dealing with a unique set of circumstances. We’re a cottage profession, often representing relatively unknown brands, yet we’re entrusted with high-value, high-risk decisions. This high-trust context makes Google reviews far more important than one might initially think.
In this article, we will cover:
- Building trust through Google reviews
- The silver lining of negative reviews
- A lone voice vs the only voice
- Simplifying the review collection process
- Timing and process: when and how to request reviews
- Change management and measurement
Building Trust Through Reviews
Google reviews serve a dual purpose. On one hand, they’re extremely beneficial for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), helping your business become more visible online. On the other hand, and perhaps more importantly, they’re instrumental in building trust.
A study conducted by Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center found that online reviews significantly impact purchase decisions, particularly for high-value products and services. The research revealed that consumers are more likely to trust and engage with businesses that have positive online reviews. This is especially true for services that involve a significant investment or risk, such as financial advice.
The Silver Lining of Negative Reviews
While striving for a perfect 5-star rating is a common goal, it’s important not to fear the occasional 1-star review. In fact, these can be beneficial. A mix of reviews can lend authenticity to your business, showing that you’re transparent and honest. The Spiegel Research Center found the ideal rating was between 4.2 and 4.5.
However, it’s crucial to stay on top of these reviews. An ignored review can do damage, but a review with a prompt and thoughtful response can strongly drive a positive perception. It shows that you value feedback and are committed to improving your services.
If you’re integrating Google reviews into your website, which is highly recommended, it is important to consider filtering out 1-star reviews. While they can contribute to your overall profile, you would not want them to be prominently displayed to prospective and existing clients. Additionally, you might want to filter out specific words based on your particular circumstances. For example, if you previously organised a competition for an ‘iPad’ or if your business was mistakenly associated with another establishment that served ‘pasta’. If you need assistance with this process and would like professional help, feel free to reach out to the team at Simply Advice Websites.
A lone voice versus the only voice
You don’t have to believe in Google Reviews for them to believe in you. If you aren’t collecting and monitoring Google Reviews, it only takes one motivated single voice to go out of their way to give you a bad review, and you’ll wonder why business is so hard to get. It could have happened to you already.
(If this is you, contact us. Seriously. This is a symptom that screams that you need the right kind of help).
If you’re actively asking for Google Reviews, you can drown out any potential current or future voices. This can be the difference between a negative review being the only person to speak up, and being a lone voice in a crowd.
Word of warning: You should never chase inorganic reviews from competitions or buy them online. The risks far outweigh any potential benefits.
Simplifying the Review Collection Process
Collecting Google reviews doesn’t have to be a complex task, and you certainly don’t need a specialised service for it. Google provides a simple way to generate a link that you can share with your clients, encouraging them to leave a review. You can find instructions on how to do this here.
Timing and Process: When and How to Request Reviews
From a process perspective, we recommend asking for reviews at strategic moments in your client interactions. The end of the Statement of Advice (SoA) Presentation meeting, where the excitement is high, or the Post-Implementation meeting, where the job is done, are both excellent opportunities.
Having a template for sending review requests directly from your CRM can streamline this process. Ensuring a template is used can help team members to identify quickly if a review has been already requested in the past.
However, it’s important to remember that in financial advice, unlike most contexts for a Google review, clients might want to provide personal details to give complete feedback.
To facilitate this, we recommend providing a simple option via your website to capture direct feedback. For example, you can see how this is done at our demo site here.
Change Management and Measurement
Change management within your team is also critical. The review request template needs to be easily accessible, and your team should be constantly reminded and encouraged to use it. As the saying goes, “what gets measured gets done”.
Once you achieve consistency, include it in your review process for twelve continuous months as well, after which you can stop asking ongoing clients and only ask new onboards.
For more insights on the power of Google reviews, you can refer to the Northwestern University research. Additionally, for practical tips on how to get more Google reviews and some great insights on its role in team engagement, check out this blog post by Michael Back at Human to Human.