PR Agency Reviews & Recommendations: Digital Word of Mouth

Nearly nine out of ten consumers read reviews before making a purchase, according to Trustpilot.  

What do clients do when hiring agencies? Our research of Fortune 1000 companies shows they ask people they trust for recommendations. 

Digital Word of Mouth

Replicating The Human Decision-Making Process

One of the driving principles behind CommunicationsMatch™, which powers PRSA's Find a Firm, is to replicate the human hiring and decision-making process in our online tools. From the very beginning, we included the ability to incorporate recommendations from clients and add links to testimonials.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube offer reminders of the importance of having options to manage third-party posts. Unmoderated feedback provides equal opportunity for the reasonable, uninformed, malicious, or self-promoting to weigh in.

Reviewing Professional Service Agencies is More Complex than TVs 

Agency Decision Making Process

While crowd-sourced ratings may work when it comes to buying a television, are they the right tool to evaluate the performance of agencies? As communicators, we’ve always believed that the answer is no, and built a controlled process for reviews and recommendations.

All content on CommunicationsMatch™ is read and approved before publishing, and we give agencies and professionals the opportunity to accept or decline a review, given that only the agency really knows whether a review is reasonable or from an actual client.

Clutch Reviews 

Clutch Logo

How does our new relationship with Clutch fit into our review philosophy?

Clutch reviews have become a much sought-after credential and are a significant addition to our recommendations and reviews options. They are the result of a disciplined process that gets at the heart of the client’s experience.

Here’s how they work: The provider (agency, consultant, or freelancer) initiates the review process and provides Clutch with client contacts. Clutch interviewers reach out and conduct the review. While summary ratings reflect the client’s overall appraisal of their relationship and project experience, reviews are accompanied by detailed context. The value of these reviews is one reason why Clutch is one of the fastest growing technology companies in the U.S.   

For agencies and industry service providers, the ability to add a Clutch review to their CommunicationsMatch profile is a valuable benefit, given this robust review process. 

Agency Reviews are a Datapoint in a Bigger Selection Process

For clients, reviews are an important datapoint in our efforts to provide, as a senior communications leader shared, “All the information I need to make the decision to reach out to an agency.” 

Profiles on CommunicationsMatch are designed to help clients create a shortlist of qualified agencies for assignments. A disciplined selection process will likely involve RFPs and individual presentations to fully-evaluate ideas and, as important, fit and chemistry.

References are an Important Part of the Review Process

Before making a final hiring decision, we always recommend getting client references from the horse’s mouth. No matter how good the recommendations and reviews built into CommunicationsMatch are, and the confidence they inspire, talking to at least one or two references before hiring is invaluable. 

It’s an important final step in the type of thorough search and selection process that research shows leads to better project outcomes and stronger relationships.

Watch this short video on: How to Add Recommendations & Reviews into agency & professional profiles.




Simon Erskine Locke is founder & CEO of communications agency and professional search and services platform, CommunicationsMatch™, which powers PRSA’s Find a Firm agency search tools. CommunicationsMatch developed Agency Select™, the industry’s first integrated agency search and RFP tools, in partnership with RFP Associates.  CommunicationsMatch is also a partner of communications research firm Researchscape.   


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