HelpHound - a consumer guide
HelpHound has been expressly designed so consumers and businesses can help each-other. Most people reading this guide will be familiar with the concept of online reviews through experience with one of more of the major review platforms - TripAdvisor, Yelp or Google for instance; perhaps you have written a review, most often you will have read reviews before using a business.
You are almost certainly reading this for one of two reasons:
- You have followed a link on a business's site
- You have been invited to write a review by a business
And you will be wondering where the three actors in the piece - you (as the consumer), the business and HelpHound fit in. Let us explain.
From the consumer's point of view:
HelpHound provides a mechanism for our clients to invite reviews - from all their customers, whenever those customers wish to post a review. This last point is crucial: our client businesses welcome your feedback whenever you wish to give it - after office hours, at weekends, immediately post-purchase or months and years later. If you simply want to say how well the business has done, that’s great - they will be thrilled to hear from you; equally, if you think they could have done better, or there is some aspect of the product or service they have provided that concerns you, we will forward that to the business and ensure that you receive a timely response.
Two important questions answered:
- Will my review be published? Yes - in every instance you will be invited to post a final review, even if the business and you agree to disagree. This is a cornerstone of our system’s credibility
- Will the business respond? If you pose a question in your review, or if your review contains anything that could be misunderstood or misconstrued as factually inaccurate we will forward your review to the business for comment. In these cases HelpHound will ensure that the business responds
This last point is important for all concerned. It is easier than one might think to unintentionally harm a business when writing a review. HelpHound acts as a safety net for consumers and businesses to ensure that the chances of this happening are minimized. After all, inaccurate or misleading reviews help no-one, business or consumer. Here are some real-life examples:
"Their beer was £6 a pint." It wasn't, it was £3. The customer had forgotten that he had ordered two. Hilarious - that is, unless you are the publican and your passing trade drops 15%.
"They refused to refund my deposit." In truth: the business's (an estate agency) contract stipulated 'professional cleaners will be employed and their fee will be deducted from your deposit.' Once this was pointed out both parties were reconciled.
"The hotel was 1000 metres from the beach." It was actually 100 metres, the reviewer had simply typed one too many zeros. But supposing this was the first review read by a family looking for a beach holiday?
It would be understandable if you were now thinking 'why not simply allow the business to respond to correct errors of fact?' Just one of the reasons is that the score that the reviewer has allocated the business stands. Each one of the three reviews above were one star reviews. Even though they were factually incorrect or potentially misleading. Unfair negative reviews and this kind of negative score impacts the business's overall score on sites like Google and TripAdvisor and, in turn, impacts their business - to no-one's advantage.
From the business's point-of-view
All well-managed businesses want to hear from all their customers, all of the time, whatever their experience of the business. In the internet age this mechanism is most efficiently - and visibly - managed like this. By enabling the business to publish customers' opinions HelpHound helps consumers to identify great businesses and avoid less-than-great ones (they simply cannot be HelpHound clients - our system doesn't work for businesses that don't care about customer service). This is a great benefit for good businesses - they can publish their reviews on their website and get them to other sites that matter.
HelpHound provides benefits all-round - for consumers and for businesses, by being fair to both. The reviews generated by our system are a great guide for the former and they drive business towards the latter. Everyone wins!