In last week’s blog, we revealed research from VouchedFor which demonstrated why financial advisers and planners should collect online ratings and reviews. You can still read that article by clicking here.
This week we’ll continue the VouchedFor theme by looking at some of the changes the platform is making.
Firstly, though, it’s worth considering VouchedFor’s position in the directory market. We all know that Unbiased is the original and largest directory. VouchedFor launched a few years ago with AdviserBook joining the party in 2017.
All three are primarily thought of as lead generation tools. However, we encourage those who use VouchedFor to see it equally as a tool which will generate enquiries while helping them to manage their online reputation.
We’ve talked a lot in the past about the importance of managing your reputation online. To put it simply, it’s because your potential clients meet you online before you meet them.
Potential clients, including those referred to you, will often head to Google first. What they see online influences their actions: do they get in touch with you, or move on to someone else? If they see a well-rated firm, it will increase the chances of them getting in touch and allow you to maximise the referral opportunity and the return on your marketing investment.
So, with VouchedFor providing enquiries as well as helping you manage your online reputation, here’s a summary of the latest changes to the platform.
1. Data dashboard
Following an upgrade to their systems, the new data dashboard is now live.
The dashboard is the first thing you see when you log in and it shows an impressive array of useful information, including:
- Your reputation score – a new internal measurement to show how effectively and consistently you are using the VouchedFor tools
- The number of people who Googled your name and then clicked your profile, or who found it from a link in your email signature
- Ways to improve your VouchedFor profile
- How your profile and number of reviews compare to other advisers in your area
- The names of clients who said your reviews influenced their decision to work with you
Log in and take a tour of the new dashboard. There’s some truly impressive and useful information in there. Of course, it will only be those advisers and planners who take action based on the information on the dashboard who truly benefit from it.
2. Fees insights
VouchedFor has been asking subscribers to add fee information for some time. They are now starting to use this information to help subscribers understand how their fees compare.
Some advisers and planners won’t care how their fees compare. However, the information will be useful to those firms who are redeveloping or refining their charging structure. It’s also useful if you are building a fees page on your website and you want to show how your fees compare. Finally, for clients who are price-sensitive, a fee report can be produced and shared, putting your fees into context.
Finally, in a welcome move, VouchedFor has made the tool available to advisers and planners who don’t currently subscribe. You can find it by clicking here.
3. Pension Transfer Specialist
Consumers searching for help on VouchedFor now have the option to narrow their search down to the advisers and planners who can provide advice on Defined Benefit or Final Salary pensions.
While this is a welcome move and will help consumers to find the specialist advice they need, I do question some of the language used. For example, the drop-down menu refers to ‘Pension Transfers’ while the subsequent pop-up (shown below) uses language which could set an expectation among consumers that an adviser or planner will always recommend a transfer. We know that isn’t the case.
While I like this change, I’d like to see the language changed to use a more neutral, advice-driven tone. For example, changing ‘Pension Transfers’ to ‘Defined Benefit and Final Salary advice’.
4. Referral generator
We all know that referrals are the best type of new enquiry; they are presold, have an immediate need and generally have the highest conversion rate and the lowest cost of acquisition.
We’ve previously talked about the Dirty Dozen: The 12 reasons why advisers and planners aren’t getting more referrals. The first reason is that advisers and planners rarely ask for referrals or even mention to clients that they welcome being passed on. The VouchedFor Referral Generator tool will help you to do that.
VouchedFor’s research shows that reviewers are more likely to refer people having seen their advisers VouchedFor reviews.
The request for referrals is tailored by you, and you can decide who the request is sent to. However, the communication carries VouchedFor’s branding. This means you can get two bites at the referral cherry; dealing with each of the dirty dozen yourself and using the Referral Generator tool as a 13th and bonus option.
5. Algorithm changes
The way results are displayed on VouchedFor has always been different from Unbiased, which simply uses geographical proximity to the consumer’s postcode or address. Currently, VouchedFor uses a mix of:
- Review quality
- Number of reviews
- Geographical location
However, over the coming weeks this will change with more emphasis being placed on the recency of reviews. The logic is that advisers and planners who regularly get reviews should rank more highly than those who might have lots of reviews, but from several years ago (and few recent ones).
VouchedFor tells me that they are still revising this change and welcome input from advisers and planners. If you’d like to give your feedback on this change, or any of the others, please email me by clicking here and we’ll forward on your comments.
6. Annual feedback
The algorithm change means subscribers will need to ask clients more frequently for reviews.
We recommend keeping your online ratings and reviews as up to date as possible. This isn’t a ‘once and done’ project; it requires good habits and processes to ensure your ratings and reviews remain current.
Therefore, we welcome the introduction of an ‘annual feedback’ tool which means clients who previously left reviews will be automatically invited to leave an annual review. Ideally, this should be set up to coincide with their periodic review meeting (or whatever you call it) with you.
There’s no doubt this tool will help you keep your reviews up to date. All you need to do is remind clients at the review meeting that they will receive a request and it would be appreciated if they would leave you a review.
7. Private feedback feature
When someone leaves you a review there is now a facility for them to leave private comments. As the name suggests, these comments won’t appear in the public-facing review and could be a useful way for a client to mention something they would rather not appear in the public domain.
The language around Pension Transfers aside, we welcome these changes. They will help advisers and planners build their business and firmly position VouchedFor as more than just a tool which will generate enquiries.
To learn more, please click here.