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8 things we can learn about online reviews from 2022’s New Model Adviser Top 100

Showing someone the value of working with you always beats telling them.

And social proof is the best way to show them.

When it comes to client-driven social proof, there are three boxes all firms should tick:

  • Client surveys
  • Client videos
  • Online ratings and reviews.

They all show prospective clients the benefit of working with you, while also impressing them on their digital journey to your door.

So, as we reach the end of 2022, we thought we’d take a look at how firms in this year’s New Model Adviser Top 100 are doing when it comes to online ratings and reviews.

Here are eight things we learnt and what they mean for you.

1. 76% of firms have Google reviews

Your Google reviews appear when someone searches for your business online. That makes them the perfect way of impressing them on the Google search results page, which, remember, is where they first “meet” you.

Consequently, it’s great to see that the proportion of firms with Google reviews in the New Model Adviser Top 100 has risen to 76% – up from 69% in 2021 and 45% in 2020. Although, it also means that you might need to up your game if you have fewer than the average number of reviews!

2. Firms have an average of 20 Google reviews

Again, an average of 20 Google reviews represents an increase on 2021 when firms in the Top 100 averaged 15 reviews each.

It’s good to see an increase but, given that firms have had 12 months to collect more reviews, and their importance is becoming more widely recognised, it’s disappointing that the increase isn’t larger.

Your Google review count is a function of the size of your client bank and the effort you put into collecting them. The second of these is more important than the first and experience tells us that, sadly, many firms just don’t take Google reviews seriously.

3. Most firms don’t reply to their Google reviews

Only 23.7% of firms reply to the reviews their clients leave on Google.

When you pause to think about that, it’s quite shocking. A client takes time to say (we assume) nice things and their adviser/planner can’t say a public “thank you”?

It’s also an opportunity missed as your reply:

  • Shows prospects that you appreciate your existing clients
  • Helps you stand out from the crowd (as we’ve seen, most firms don’t reply)
  • Allows you to get some key points across, for example, the niche you work in or how you helped that client
  • Can help to boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

If you haven’t replied to your Google reviews, click here to learn more about the five reasons why you need to, plus seven tips for writing the perfect reply.

4. The highs and lows of Google reviews

The average number of Google reviews each firm has is 20 but that number masks some highs and lows.

The firm at the top of the tree has 186 reviews. The firm at the bottom has just one.

At least they’ve made a start, but it’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves that having just one review is worse than having none.


Because if someone searches for your business, they probably won’t register if you don’t have any Google reviews. However, if you have one, they now know that Google reviews are “a thing” and that you only have one of them.

So, when it comes to Google reviews your motto should be: go hard or go home.

5. 53% of firms have VouchedFor reviews

All firms should use two review platforms.

The first, of course, is Google. However, as we’ll see in a minute, it’s not easy to get reviews there because your client must have a Google account. Plus, it’s unlikely that the review will be anonymous, which puts some people off.

Therefore, if Google is the only option you offer to your client and they can’t/won’t do it, you’ve sent them down a dead end.

That’s not great, which is why we always recommend using two platforms.

We’ve done a lot of work on this and believe that the second platform (in almost all circumstances) should be VouchedFor.

6. It’s easier to get reviews on VouchedFor than on Google

We’ve already seen that the 76% of firms who use Google to collect reviews have an average of 20 each.

In contrast, the 53% of firms who use VouchedFor have an average of 111 reviews.

That doesn’t mean Google reviews aren’t important. They are, but it does show how much easier it is to get reviews on VouchedFor.

7. Even fewer firms reply to their VouchedFor reviews

Our research shows that even fewer firms (17%) reply to VouchedFor reviews than Google reviews.

Rather than labour the point, let’s keep this simple.

Reply. To. All. Reviews.

8. 80% of firms are missing out because they don’t have reviews on Glassdoor

We’re told that recruiting good quality advisers, planners, paraplanners and administrators is tough right now and that demand outstrips supply.

That means you need to use every possible lever to position yourself ahead of other firms that potential recruits might consider. One of those levers is Glassdoor.

If you’re not aware of it, Glassdoor is a platform that allows your team members, both past and present, to rate and review their experience of working for you. They are asked to:

  • Rate your business out of five across a range of categories including culture/values, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and career opportunities
  • Explain the pros and cons of being part of the team
  • Say how likely they are to recommend the business to a friend.

This information is then used to display:

  • Individual reviews
  • An overall score in each category for the employer
  • A “Recommend to a friend” rating.

To see how this works in practice, click here to look at our Glassdoor profile and read our 19 reviews.

We’ve previously written about the six reasons why you should collect reviews from current and former employees. Fourth on the list was “to gain a competitive advantage” – a point demonstrated by our research which shows only 20% of your peers and competitors have reviews on there.

Make 2023 the year you embrace online reviews

Hopefully, our research helps you to understand how you’re doing when it comes to ratings and reviews when compared to your peers and competitors.

If you’d like our help in the new year to boost your efforts, we’re here to help.

Simply email or call 0115 8965 300, we’d love to hear from you.

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