5 VouchedFor Myths....Busted

A response to some prevailing misconceptions about VouchedFor

Hopefully you saw our article outlining how the FCA and other influential bodies need to challenge VouchedFor and our peers. In case not, here it is again.

The response has been largely excellent, as evidenced in the comments. Thank you! We will now put together our formal response to the FCA’s consultation paper on creating a new adviser directory, factoring in your feedback. 

All that said, it’s clear from a couple of trade press comments that there are some prevailing misconceptions about our current offering. 

So, to save you trawling through my chat room replies, I wanted to take this opportunity to bust a few myths!

Myth 1: VouchedFor’s not for you if you don’t want third party leads

Enquiries generated directly through VouchedFor are indeed part of our value proposition for advisers. But just one part.

Advisers who get the most value, use our reputation tools (e.g. ratings badges, email signatures, certificates and pdf of reviews) as independent validation of the great work they do for their clients - powering word of mouth referrals. 

Further to this, of the 2 million consumers a year who find and/or check out advisers on VouchedFor, a significant proportion enquire on advisers’ own sites, not on VouchedFor (when was the last time you booked a hotel on TripAdvisor?).

Myth 2: You can ‘pay your way’ to the top of VouchedFor listings 

The algorithm that steers our search listings looks at each adviser’s distance from the enquirer, their rating, their number of reviews and the recency. The cost of an adviser’s subscription has no bearing.

It’s true, you do need to be on some level of paid-for membership to be fully verified and feature in our search listings (unless people untick the ‘show only advisers who are verified and available’ box). The reason for this is that the checks required to fully verify advisers involve significant cost.

Myth 3: VouchedFor is expensive

Most VouchedFor members are on our Verified membership which is £45 + VAT per month and gives them a fully verified profile, access to reputation tools and the ability to receive a capped number of enquiries per quarter (included within the cost of the subscription). 

We introduced Verified membership based on feedback from advisers who were starting out, were close to capacity, had had a bad run of luck or who only wanted referrals from clients. 

For most Verified advisers, one conversion a year (generated on or off VouchedFor) reflects a healthy return on investment. 

Myth 4: VouchedFor reviews are all from happy clients 

We have two types of reviews - client reviews, left by established clients (who specify how many years they have been a client) and first impression reviews.

Client reviews tend to be positive. We’ve found that dissatisfied people are less comfortable leaving a negative review for a person vs. a product (like a restaurant or hotel). Instead, they register their dissatisfaction by not leaving a review, making it hard for an adviser with dissatisfied clients to build the critical mass of positive reviews required to succeed on VouchedFor.

First impressions are more of a mixed bag, with 14% of first impression reviews having a rating of less than 4 out of 5 stars.

Myth 5: VouchedFor only checks that advisers are regulated

Below is a list of all the checks that we do currently. We now run more checks than any other adviser directory or industry body, though we recognise that there’s more to do here. 

i) We do indeed check advisers are FCA regulated!

ii) We require advisers to certify their independent status, service by service

iii) We check advisers’ location and contact details

iv) We require advisers to upload certificates for their qualifications

v) We check advisers’ client reviews are genuine

vi) We ask consumers who submit an enquiry to an adviser on VouchedFor to leave a first impression review of their experience

vii) We encourage advisers to publish their fees

viii) We monitor complaints and news outlets

ix) We track client outcomes, e.g. how many are happy and get the help they need, (currently 60% give us feedback). 

In summary 

There’s undoubtedly more to do to raise the bar and improve outcomes for everyone seeking advice. We are on the case, as hopefully the above steps show, and are grateful for all the support, ideas and constructive criticism we have received. 

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