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Fake Reviews Are Set To Become Illegal In The UK

As marketing experts here in Nottingham, we’re always one step ahead of the constant changes that sweep the aesthetics and dental sectors – whether it’s regulations over POMs or essential legal standards that could affect your clinic or practice.

Recently, fake reviews have featured heavily in the press, as new rules are shortly coming into play that help protect your valuable customers. But, there are also some other business rules that you’ll need to know about to keep upholding your high standards – and keep those clients loyal.

So, what are the changes?

One of the biggest changes being implemented is regarding fake reviews, i.e. reviews where a business has paid someone to write or host them. And the fines for ignoring the new rules are pretty hefty: with a watchdog being granted new powers to enforce them, businesses could be fined up to 10% of their global annual turnover, while customers could be awarded compensation.

Why are these new rules being rolled out?

As a business ourselves, we know how important testimonials are to our marketing. Word-of-mouth and recommendations account for a lot of business, and help build trust between a company (practice or clinic) and their clients. With fake reviews cropping up on even the most legitimate sites – think TrustPilot, Feefo and even Google – customers are worrying about whether they can truly trust what they read. But, cracking down on fake reviews can actually benefit your business hugely, as it means your clients can believe the ratings and reviews they come across online, and may be more likely to use your treatments and services. Even better, your competition will be forced to keep it truthful, too – great news for those of us who’ve spotted a rogue review now and then.

What other changes are there?

As well as the changes to online reviews, customers will also be given the chance to opt out of subscriptions. For instance, if you’re a clinic that sells beauty packages, the regulations might affect the way you present your offering . Not only will you need to ensure you’ve covered all the bases when outlining the contract, but you’ll need to give your clients the chance to leave a trial or introductory offer ahead of it automatically rolling over. In other words, you’ll have to send reminders when these trials are due to come to an end.

Finally, there’s word that payment schemes which aren’t covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – for instance, types of credit or loans for treatments – will be protected through insurance or trust accounts, so that if the worst happens and you’re forced to shut your clinic, your client won’t be out of pocket. Again, there can be legal implications if you don’t follow the rules: another 10% on that precious global annual turnover.

What can I do to offset these new rules?

The best thing you can do is encourage your loyal, happy clients to publish a real review on your website, social media and other platforms to ensure your business is being seen in the right light, and for the right reasons. With the average UK household shelling out almost £1k every year thanks to the influence of online reviews, that’s a nice little profit straight into your pocket.

You could also consider looking over the wording of your current subscriptions. As a marketing agency that specialises in aesthetics, dentistry and healthcare, our professional copywriters could help refine your offer, while your own legal advisor can check over the fine print if needed.

Finally, we’d recommend looking into interest-free credit options for expensive treatments (especially dental) that are fully regulated by the relevant bodies. It’s peace of mind for your patients – and your practice.

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To get in touch with our expert team of writers, SEO specialists and marketing experts, give us a call on 01159 140640 or visit our contact page for details. We’ve been helping clients in Nottingham, nationally and internationally for over 16 years – so why not give us a try?

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