I’m a huge fan of trip advisor, in fact I am a huge fan of the vast majority of ratings schemes. Such is the glamorous life I lead that I purchased a vacuum cleaner at the weekend. It was within budget and had some really positive reviews, I didn’t get to try it first but was happy to trust that if my peers liked it, I probably will.
Equally the best holiday I’ve ever had was selected on the back of reviews on Trip Advisor. I’m not saying the reviews are the only guiding light, but they are a huge influence and in the age of the internet they are more valuable than a suggestion from your mate down the pub.
In the short time I’ve been at Ovation it has become apparent that, like all adviser firms, we have some really rather happy clients. We are not, however, utilising adviser ratings sites such as VouchedFor. I’m not sure if they will increase our enquiry levels, but if I was a prospective client I might have a little peak at them before signing up.
So we’re taken the plunge and setting up a profile. But we have hit upon a problem. They don’t want clients to rate the firm, the focus is entirely upon the individual.
When I stayed in the fabulous holiday resort it was the whole team that made my stay memorable, not just the receptionist that booked me in. When I review a restaurant I don’t just rate the Chef, I rate the whole experience. So why is this website so different? Why is there no option to be rated as a business rather than an individual?
I have no doubt that with the help of my colleagues I could build up an impressive ranking, perhaps even get my name “in lights” and into The Times. But what happens if I leave? I can take my ratings with me, the rating which I am only partly responsible for, and the company has to start again.
I wonder if this is symptomatic of an industry where a ‘my client’ mentality still prevails. It certainly does no justice to firms who offer a team based service and, in my view, perpetuates the image in the consumer of receiving the expertise and knowledge of an individual adviser, something I believe we should be trying to get away from.
So come on Vouchedfor, change the emphasis. If advisers want to promote themselves that’s fine, but give the option for firms to promote themselves as well.