Unbiased has altered the design of its homepage after earning multiple criticisms about some of its new features from advisers.
The adviser referral service altered the appearance of its homepage to give equal weighting to its new feature ‘Connect with an adviser' and the old ‘Browse local advisers' search bar.
The changes came after Clayden Associates Director Dan Clayden told Professional Adviser last week the prominence given to the new feature meant many consumers were not scrolling down to the old geographical search function.
The problem was, he said, that to interact with any potential customers generated through the new feature, advisers had to pay an additional £36 per lead on top of their monthly subscription. The old feature, on the other hand, allowed clients to connect at no extra charge to advisers.
He also said he had seen considerably fewer leads generated through the site since the change.
Other industry bodies also complained to Unbiased, including former Sense Network head of marketing Phil Bray, who published a series or critical articles with his new marketing consultancy The Yardstick Agency.
Clayden had described the changes as "money-grabbing" and told PA last week that despite his 16 years' of loyalty to the site, it was becoming "less and less attractive" to him.
However, he was delighted to hear about the changes. He said: "It's always great to hear they're listening to their clients, a great thing in life is if you get something wrong, and you're big enough to admit it. If that's what they've done, then we really can't criticise it."
For now Clayden will continue to use the site; "the proof will be in the pudding. We'll see whether anything changes going forward in terms of the enquiries that come to us," he said. "I suppose going on from there if it needs changing again, or we give feedback that something isn't quite right, they'll listen," he added.
Equal weight given to both options. Photo: Unbiased.
Changes to response rating
In the past year, Unbiased also introduced a ‘response rating' that scores advisers out of 10 based on their speed to accept or decline enquiries.
The website said the aim was for the rating not only to generate a more objective and more accurate assessment of advisers but also to give advisers access to more enquiries and an opportunity to add a competitive edge.
This too was met with scepticism from advisers; Sedulo Wealth Management director Paul Lindfield described the change as "dangling a false carrot" and said it felt as though the aim was to generate interest in Unbiased, rather than produce quality leads for advisers.
While the response rating system is still in place, advisers now have the ability to set their profiles to ‘away' so the score of an adviser won't be affected if they are on holiday.
Unbiased declined to comment on the alterations.
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