Astrid Göschel: How references can make your profile shine
The coaching market is booming worldwide and most companies now incorporate coaching as part of their human resource development. However, the competition is huge, so being able to stand out is essential. As experience coach, visiting lecturer at the University of Mosbach and certified EU company ambassador, Astrid Göschel knows what needs to be taken into account. Rapid growth in the consultancy sector means that any coach requires a killer unique selling proposition. Since her customer contacts are extremely diverse, references from various sectors are simply mandatory. But what influence do online ratings and reviews have on her everyday working life? Astrid Göschel discusses manipulation, integrity and her wish for a true digital feedback culture.
You work as a coach – can you tell us a little about this industry?
I've been self-employed as a coach for 19 years – seven of these years as a trainer and the rest as a business coach. Over time, the competition in the sector has grown and many young people are joining the coaching market. You see, coaching is an unprotected term, so that's why the industry is now teeming with so many people. Right now, you can't distinguish between the person who's already been working for 19 years and offers that experience and the person who's just starting out.
How did you come to start using ProvenExpert?
The aspect of reviews and ratings was always something that was on my radar, but I was rather sceptical about it. I also asked myself, where will I get the time to concentrate on customer reviews? Most people will just smile and say that of course, references are the most important of all. But for me, that wasn't the case until recently. I've always simply given my all to my projects and am usually on the go for weeks on end, so then don't have a lot of time to dedicate to reviews. I became aware of ProvenExpert during the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation, when I received a link via Xing and LinkedIn, my preferred portals.
Before, were people able to review you on other portals?
Previously, I was sceptical about the various ratings systems out there. That was mainly down to the advance of digitization and the corresponding manipulation of users that was growing at the same time.
And in terms of the topic of online ratings, I had doubts about the integrity of many portals. Nobody can say with certainty that a review wasn't paid for or came from a friend or relative of the business. This idea really put me off.
What do I mean by integrity? Integrity is about being able to receive meaningful reviews and feedback. Not long afterwards, I found out ProvenExpert and saw that it was a platform that would let me communicate with my customers directly. I was looking for a genuine feedback culture online, and that's exactly what ProvenExpert offers.
What are the advantages of using ProvenExpert in comparison with other portals?
There are a whole range of benefits over using other portals, since ProvenExpert offers several options for requesting feedback from my clients. I can either send a feedback invitation via email, or send clients a source code. Both these options are quick and easy to handle, both for myself and my clients.
An additional advantage is the possibility to display and integrate the seal into my website, which gives the impression of integrity and transparency.
The date of each customer review is also visible on my profile. The reason I mention this is that this information, in connection with the name of the customer and the (usually) written review, makes it clear that the feedback is not manipulated. This is a huge plus that other review platforms don't offer, or can't ensure. It's these values and this aesthetic conveyed by ProvenExpert that speak not only to me, but to my customers too.
How do your customers react to feedback invitations?
I can proudly say that my response rate is at 80%. It's such a pleasant surprise – I never would have counted on such a high response rate. My customers are enthusiastic in terms of responding to my invitations to provide feedback – this is no doubt connected to the tool's ease of use.
In what contexts do you allow customers to rate you?
I let people rate me on ProvenExpert in all scenarios – for events, publications and book projects, my VIP business days in Hamburg but also my online training programs. At the University of Mosbach, for instance, my students receive a source code, with which they can then rate me on my ProvenExpert profile. We've moved away from these top-level evaluation sheets: they no longer exist. Instead I give younger people access to a modern tool that works fast, reliably and smoothly, and it's very much a win-win situation.
Have you noticed any changes since using ProvenExpert?
I think that in any case, it has resulted in the press and TV getting in touch with me. Meaningful feedback speaks for itself and it also indicates to others that I don't only work as a business coach, but offer a wide spectrum of coaching types.
Since press spokespeople and TV media are often on the lookout for experts, my positive and impressive customer feedback helps me get noticed.
Anyone can call themselves an expert these days, but my reviews from professors, universities and references from companies demonstrate that I truly am an expert in my field.
Want to take control over your reputation? Manage your reviews with ease on ProvenExpert now.