Was there a better feeling back in the day than fully completing your sticker album? The answer is “no, there was not”.
While there were hundreds, if not thousands, of sticker albums and collections out there, my vice was Merlin football stickers.
Whether it was finally sticking in that one player I’d been asking everyone about, or unpacking that one shiny you’d been waiting months for, the euphoria will forever be unmatched.
For those of you who spent your pocket money on anything other than packets of stickers, let me give you a brief breakdown. Stickers would come in two types: “shiny” and “normal”. As you can probably guess, shiny stickers (often club badges and star players) were much rarer and sought after than those that weren’t.
While everyone would scramble for the shiny stickers, you still needed the “normal” stickers to complete your collection. Thus earning the renowned “certificate of completion” sticker, a symbol that you’re truly better than your friends.
While my time for sticker collecting has passed, fortunately there’s a modern equivalent – online reviews. While online reviews may not sound as fun, they hold a much more useful purpose for all businesses.
In the world of financial services, there are two main reviews to look to collect: Google reviews and VouchedFor reviews.
As Google reviews are often harder to collect, making them much rarer, we’ll look at them as our “shinies”. However, this does not mean VouchedFor reviews are worth less, with both sets of reviews playing a key part in your online presence.
To collect Google reviews, first, you must start with your Google Business listing. Without a listing, there is nowhere for anyone to leave reviews.
Your Google Business listing must be as up to date as possible. As a starting point make sure you have the following on your listing:
- Telephone number
- Website address
- Full postal address
- Cover photo
- Opening hours
Remember, this may be the first time somebody views your business, so make sure to use correct information and high-quality images.
If you have them to hand, team photos are always a welcome addition.
To leave a Google review a user must have a Google account, which is why they can often be harder to earn and that much rarer. However, don’t let that put you off.
Firstly, don’t assume someone doesn’t have a Google account solely based on their email address – Many people may use a Google email address that doesn’t end with simply “@gmail.com” as they use a sub-domain.
It’s also important to note that many people will have a Gmail email address on their phone, as people create one to use their Android phone to access things like the Google Play store.
Operating alongside Google reviews sit VouchedFor reviews. For those of you who are unfamiliar, VouchedFor is a website similar to TripAdvisor but for financial advisers and planners.
When making your VouchedFor profile, make sure to include an image of yourself, the list of services you provide, and some information on yourself. Remember, people like to work with people.
Also, ensure to have a firm administrator on VouchedFor to manage the firm’s VouchedFor profile. Your firm profile should include, your logo, a description and all advisers/planners linked with your firm.
Collecting your reviews
Now that you have your Google Business listing and VouchedFor profiles ready, it’s time to collect your reviews.
There are two key ways to look at collecting your online reviews.
The first is a mass collection to get things started when you haven’t previously asked for reviews. Simply contact all of your clients explaining why reviews are important, and ask if they’d be willing to take the time to leave one for you.
The second is to ensure you email all clients after meetings, whether that’s an annual review, an onboarding meeting or anything else similar. Something simple thanking them for their time, saying it was nice to catch up, and how a review would mean a lot.
In both of these communication types, it’s imperative that you ask for both Google and VouchedFor reviews.
If you ask someone to simply leave you a Google review and they’re unable to, then you will gain nothing. Similarly, if you ask for a VouchedFor review and they have already left one you will gain nothing.
By asking for reviews on both platforms you significantly increase the chances of receiving reviews. Some clients will use Google, some will use VouchedFor, and a select few will be kind enough to leave a review on both platforms.
In both of these communications make sure to use links that take the client directly to the page where they can write a review, just like this, for example.
The fewer barriers you place in the client’s way, the easier it makes their journey. The easier you can make the journey, the more likely they are to leave a review.
They’ve left a review, now what?
Once a review has been left it’s vital that you leave a reply. They’ve taken the time to leave you a review, so it’s the least you can do.
Where possible try to avoid a “copy and paste” reply, as this will be visible to those looking at your reviews. It means you miss out on an opportunity for a personal touch.
For more information on the importance of leaving a review and how to write the perfect reply, please read one of our previous blogs.
We can’t help you complete that sticker book that’s been sitting in the attic collecting dust since 1984. But we can help you improve your online ratings and reviews.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300 to find out how.