No one wants a negative review of themselves or their business. It can hurt, it can feel unfair and once out there we can feel like it’s out of our control - who knows what damage it could do? Right? Well, not necessarily. We know there is trepidation around this aspect of our site, so we’ve decided to outline an actual case we had a short time ago in 3 brief parts to put things in context. This week is part 1.
Part 1 – The Bad Review
The spectre of a dissatisfied customer or even a malicious competitor posting a bad review is one fear that has been repeatedly raised when talking to Advisers. The major concern is of reputational damage to an individual or brand due to a negative customer review being published on the site. However, you can manage your reputation, via the dignity of your response (ie: not like this).
If this is a concern for you – we are here to tell you that a negative review is simply not the end of the world. I don't know anyone who deals with the public regularly who keeps 100% of people happy, 100% of the time.
We sometimes forget that the public understands this point as well.
Additionally, we believe that the long term benefits of using the Adviser Ratings platform will far outweigh any negative impact. Indeed, we also believe and there is abundant information available that can mitigate negative reviews and in many cases turn them into positive outcomes in the short and medium term as well.
For starters at Adviser Ratings we have a number of automated and manual processes in place to guard against erroneous/malicious reviews. These include:
- We regularly contact consumers who post negative reviews as part of our verification process.
- All customer ratings that score under 3 stars are quarantined for 72 hours before they are published on out site.
- Immediately on receiving such a review, our automated process notifies the Adviser concerned, giving them the opportunity to dispute the review if they believe it to be erroneous.
- In the event that the review is deemed genuine, we allow the adviser the right of reply to the review (and associated comments) to enable them to contextualize the comments/review and offer their “side to the story”.
This last part is key to the process and is where a negative (bad review) has the potential to be turned into a positive. Advice abounds on how to do this but some key points to remember, as Stephen Fairley notes (writing for lawyers getting reviewed online in the US):
“By posting a professional, meaningful response to negative commentary, an attorney sends a powerful message to any readers of that review. Done correctly, such a message communicates responsiveness, attention to feedback, and strength of character. The trick is to not act defensive, petty, or feel the need to directly refute what you perceive is wrong with the review”
At Adviser Ratings, we have had many examples already – one we will share below...
The review was as follows:
My wife and I signed up with XXXX based on the overwhelmingly positive ratings on this web site. My experience was he didn't give us any strategies to manage the primary/critical risk we really wanted comfort on, made critical spreadsheet modelling errors in our biggest asset which I needed to point out, provided very superficial and non-creative advice on property investment ideas we had, and did not meet the expectations he raised on the diversity of investment scenarios he would provide.
There was an apparent discrepancy with the reviewers supplied email (a spelling error) so we contacted the reviewer to confirm the review was genuine and told him the adviser was allowed the right of reply. He confirmed it was genuine and said it was entirely appropriate for the adviser to have this reply option.
We'll take a look at the adviser's reaction to this review in our next instalment...Part 2 - The Concerned Adviser...