How to build trust

Neil Bayton, Head of Partnerships in the UK at Trustpilot, returns for a second sit-down and shares some top tips when using the platform as well as a guide into getting started.

Last month Big Furniture Group found out how Trustpilot’s review platform plays a key role in building trust between a business and customer, as well as why the furnishings sector is such a popular category. This month is all about getting the most out of Trustpilot, from setting up to proper use. So, just how easy is it to sign up and get going?

“It’s very easy,” says Neil. “It’s a 5-step process. When visiting our website, go to Trustpilot Business, where you can click ‘Create free account’, found at the top right of the page. You can sign up using Google or enter your business’ details. It’s best to use an email address that matches your business website’s domain. For example, if you are claiming the domain www.example.com, choose name@example.com.

“As part of the form, there is also the option to tick a box to book a free demo. We recommend all businesses joining the platform click yes to this option, as you’ll receive an interactive personalised call via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, during which we will show how to use the platform and get the most out of reviews and can also answer any specific questions you may have.”

Upon clicking the ‘create free account’ button, this will trigger an activation email from Trustpilot, which you should see in your inbox within a few minutes. If not, check your spam folder, and then within the email, click ‘Activate account’. You’ll then be redirected back to Trustpilot to choose a password. Once this has been created and you’ve agreed to Trustpilot’s Ts&Cs, click ‘Complete setup’ and you’re done.

“From there, you’ll be able to set up invitations using our template, and once you receive your first reviews, you’ll be able to see insights on your dashboard on the homepage of your account,” Neil added.

As touched upon in last month’s magazine, Neil revealed that the furnishings sector is one of the highest performing categories on the platform, with Home & Garden – which includes furniture and furnishings businesses – ranking fifth in terms of volume of page views, with more than 36,700 businesses having been rated on Trustpilot. What’s more, within the furniture sector specifically, there have been 6.3 million service reviews submitted to the platform globally.

“Furniture businesses are incredibly important to Trustpilot and we work closely with many in the sector to help them gain valuable feedback from customers and manage their reputation online,” Neil said. “As the cost-of-living crisis lingers and consumers find their purse strings increasingly stretched, they want to ensure they’re getting the best products for their money, especially for high value purchases such as furniture. More than ever, consumers need to know which businesses will deliver on their promises, and reviews play a huge role in the decision-making process.”

So, you’re all set up or even if you’ve been using Trustpilot for some time, what are the golden rules to follow when using the platform? The answer is consistency and extending the invitation to all customers, not just ‘cherry-picking’. “Cherry-picking or selectively inviting customers to share feedback of their experience risks distorting public perceptions of your business – which, when consumers realise it’s not reflective of reality, can damage your reputation and trust in your business,” says Neil. “Asking for feedback from all customers – whether happy or not so happy – gives a much more holistic and trustworthy view of what’s really going on, and provides better, more accurate insights into how your business is really performing.

“What’s more, consumers these days are realistic and recognise no business is perfect: in fact, our research found that over half of consumers in the UK believe that a less than perfect review score is actually more authentic. Even if inviting all customers to share reviews results in a few negative ratings, ultimately what will have the most positive impact is how you respond.”

And responding is crucial – even to the not so positive comments.

Independent research commissioned by Trustpilot found that 64% of UK consumers would prefer to buy from a company that seems to have made a small mistake and responded quickly.

“Sometimes receiving negative feedback can feel unpleasant, but don’t take it personally – that only risks damaging your reputation further – instead, try to use it as a tool to improve the business,” Neil said. “Be transparent: if there was a mistake on your part, acknowledge it, and even better, offer compensation. It could be a refund, gift card, discount, or something similar. But, make sure this is just a bonus – your first priority should be demonstrating you’ve solved the main issue.

“Evidence that you learn from your mistakes. If their experience highlighted an issue in your business, update them to let you know how you’ve implemented changes to help avoid the same mistakes happening again in future. This could be anything from updating your policies to changing suppliers – it shows you genuinely listen and value your customers’ feedback.”

When responding to feedback, Neil indicated to ensure that each reply is personalised to the reviewer as consumers will be able to tell if they’re reading a copy and pasted message, and it risks you coming off as complacent. “Aim to respond to all reviews in a timely manner. Replying to a reviewer’s feedback weeks after they’ve posted risks making them feel like they were ignored or weren’t taken seriously; replying quickly demonstrates the opposite. Use simple, conversational and accessible language, and avoid using jargon. This reassures customers they’re talking with a real human who really values their opinion.”

One such retailer that relies on the trust it has built through Trustpilot is Furniture And Choice. Tom Obbard, Managing Director, shared his views: “As an online-only furniture retailer, we rely on Trustpilot to help customers feel confident about purchasing from us without seeing or feeling our products. By making it easy for real customers to share their experiences with our business, Trustpilot helps us build a strong, trusted reputation online. The platform is well known and recognised – that’s why we pride ourselves on our ‘Excellent’ rating and display our score for customers to see.

“It’s not only about positive reviews, however – negative feedback also helps us identify areas for improvement. If a dissatisfied customer posts a negative review, Trustpilot allows us to respond publicly on how we’ve tried to make things right. This goes a long way to earning credibility among potential new customers. Trustpilot is a powerful growth tool for our business, acting as a major trust signal to attract new customers and letting us demonstrate our commitment to customer satisfaction.”

Finally, when inviting customers to leave reviews, make sure you capture comments from varuous stages of the customer journey, as Neil explains: “If you ask a customer review right after they click ‘purchase’, this will only tell you how your business performed right up to that point. What happens after that point; are your deliveries on time? Do consumers like the quality of the product? What about those you provided a customer service experience to, but who didn’t end up purchasing anything from you – why is that?

“It’s really important to ensure you’re inviting your consumers to share their experience with you at multiple points through the customer journey. Only by doing this will you be able to gain a full understanding of your business’s performance, and what consumers really think about you. You’ll get much richer insights, which will highlight areas which may require improvement and in turn help ensure you’re providing an unbeatable customer experience all the time, beating off the competition.”

www.uk.trustpilot.com

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