“88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”

When was the last time you received memorable service, that you just had to share how amazing it was?  More importantly, how long has it been since you spent the time to publicly thank someone for a job well done by posting a review online?    To a small business owner, there is no greater reward for a job well done than receiving client reviews online for the whole world to see.

According to an article on SearchEngineLand.com by Myles Anderson “88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”  With such an overwhelming percentage, it makes sense why there are so many new sites started every year all hoping to capture a piece of the marketing revenue. This presents a new challenge for small business owners, consolidating reviews spread over many different sites like Google+, Yelp, Facebook, and even Intuit’s

Spread out across many different sites, client reviews can lose some of their effectiveness including the motivation they generate in others to also leave a review.  Knowing how difficult it is to motivate a client to complete an online review, it is nearly impossible to convince them to visit multiple sites to create multiple reviews.  So how do you maximize the benefit from your client reviews?

THE SCENARIO

There are dozens of websites if Client Reviews

Recently while attempting to improve the quality of my Intuit ProAdvisors Profile, I learned a very valuable lesson about review guidelines including how they are presented on different websites. Frustrated that perspective clients search Intuits ProAdvisors list had no way to see our 5-star reviews on Google or Yelp, I attempted to copy (including citing the source) the reviews to my profile so they would be available to anyone searching for an accountant. Unfortunately, this creative attempt, was understandably frowned upon.  Unsatisfied with the outcome, I continued to ponder the dilemma until coming up with what I feel is a win-win-win scenario

For good reason, sites like Intuit, Yelp, and Google+ utilize custom algorithms and specialized approval processes to ensure the quality of their reviews.  Without these policies in place, it would be easy for fake or malicious reviews to populate the search results, rendering any good reviews worthless.  Perhaps there could be a happy medium, that would benefit, Intuit, ProAdvisors, and the potentials clients searching for an accountant?

PRESENTING THE WIN-WIN-WIN OF CLIENT REVIEWS

Imagine if your ProAdvisor profile included all of your reviews that came from reputable sources. Search Engines like Google and Yelp have strict verification guidelines that surpass, Intuits current policies. These websites do a very good job to catch fake reviews and have become trusted resources for consumer feedback. Let’s evaluate the benefits to all three parties:

Client Reviews Win-Win-Win

Intuit’s Find an Accountant Website:

By offering the ability to import reviews from other sources such as Google and Yelp, Intuit could increase visibility to their ProAdvisor program while increasing the value of the information provided. Over time, this should result in an increase in the number of visitors to the site as well as an increase in the number of searches conducted.  They would inherently help promote the true ProAdvisors that are utilizing their software since quality accountants would be more likely to receive more client reviews.  As the number of business owners searching the site increases, so would the opportunity for new QuickBooks Subscriptions.

 The ProAdvisor:

By providing a professional profile page that captures all their client reviews, ProAdvisors would be more likely to promote their profile on all marketing material. Considering people’s reluctance to be the first person to review a company, the combined reviews would increase the likelihood of other clients providing reviews. As the activity level on the site continues to increase so would the opportunity to capture new clientele based on the search results. As Intuit ProAdvisors signup new clients, they would also be adding new subscriptions for desktop and/or online services as well as payroll.

 The Customer:

Although small business owners are familiar with Intuit and QuickBooks, the ProAdvisor program has not realized is full potential.  By improving the profile information available to small business owners, confidence in the Intuit Brand would increase making owners more likely to hire a suggested ProAdvisor accountant.  For this to be successful, reviews would have to be imported on an “all or nothing” per site basis to provide a transparent picture while eliminating the ability to cherry pick which reviews to transfer.

In Conclusion:

Client reviews are one of the few forms of advertising that enhance your overall web presence while acting like an online billboard promoting your business every hour of every day.  To stay competitive in this online market, ProAdvisor must navigate the constant algorithm changes made by Google, Bing and Yahoo which continue to add emphasis on client reviews.

Now it’s your turn to tell us your thoughts.  Whether you agree, disagree, or have suggestions for improvement, please share your thoughts below. As always, Parkway wishes you all a very successful week.

REQUESTING CLIENT REVIEWS TEMPLATE CREATOR

Client Reviews Reqest Creator

The team at Parkway knows how difficult it can be to build up your client reviews so we created a easy to use template that both you and your clients can use.

Follow these Steps:

  1. Start off by adding your business information to the request form.
  2. Click the Print to PDF button to save a new set of documents without the form page.
  3. Save the new form somewhere easy to find.  If your business does not utilize every social media option provided, delete the pages that are not relevant to your company.
  4. Immediately after sending the email, call your client to help explain what you sent and why. As a value added touch, offer to send them a copy of the template that they can use for their own clients.
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