Customer reviews are perhaps not everyone’s priority. Certainly, looking at the profile pages on Which? Trusted Traders, many traders have less than three reviews of their business. But did you know that the businesses that get most out of their Which? Trusted Traders scheme membership are the ones that fully embrace it, use the logo widely and get lots of customer reviews?
Why customer reviews are important
Customers use the reviews on profile pages to help them to make decisions about which trader to call. Potential customers trust peer reviews significantly more than descriptions that come from businesses themselves (nearly 12 times more, according to a survey of US internet users by EXPO). Which? Trusted Traders’ own research bears out the statistics that lots of positive reviews can be very encouraging.
Vince Hillis of Hillis Security Systems Ltd says, ‘Potential customers know about our commitment to quality from the reviews that other people have left already. I reply to every single one. All of that paints a picture for people who visit the Which? Trusted Trader site looking for a reliable, professional company.’ Conversely, not having many reviews can be off-putting for customers who are looking for more information about you and your business.
Boiler and heating specialist 2 Red Ltd has well over 100 reviews on its profile page. Gurdeep Lall, co-owner and director, told us he sees this as part of getting the most out of the Which? Trusted Traders endorsement. ‘When we meet customers, we get the iPad out and log on to the site and they start reading through the reviews while we’re carrying out surveys. Which? does a lot of the selling for us.’
Customers can leave a review via the 'leave a review' button on the home page or on a paper review form. If you need more paper review forms, you can email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for more.
So how can you encourage customers to leave reviews?
1. Make a positive impression on your customers. Hopefully this shouldn’t be a problem for any Which? Trusted traders. As Kirk Williams from Cloudy2Clear explained, it’s about rewarding a good experience. ‘If you’re on holiday or in a restaurant and you have a good time, you want to do your part for that brand. If you create a connection with your customers, then they want to leave a review, and the chances are that they’ll come back as customers as well.’
2. Remind customers to leave a review. Of course you can’t force your customers to leave reviews, nor would you want to, but it’s easy for them to forget about it once you’ve finished working for them. Ensure you have the Which? Trusted Traders logo on your paperwork to help them make that connection. Zanda Russell of Zanda Rusell Designs sends her invoices via email and includes a link to the website, along with an invitation to leave a review. Other traders leave paper review forms in customer packs or invoices.
3. Build it in to your working process. ‘Everything we promote, it’s always with the W?TT logo on it – quote sheets, uniforms, vans, advertising – so it’s like we’re always using that with our business,’ said Kirk Williams of Cloudy2Clear. ‘Once the fitters have done the work, we walk round the house to check customers are happy, and ask them if they’d like to leave a review and if they could fill in the review form and post it off to Which? Trusted Traders. It’s as simple as that, but we get a great response through it.’
4. Motivate your staff to try to get more reviews. Steve McGovern from Propergeeks told us how his company includes getting customer reviews as a measure of staff performance, which goes towards their commission. ‘There’s no pressure put on the customers,’ said Steve, ‘It was really just to give staff a reason to do it. Before we introduced the incentive, staff weren’t doing it because there was no real motivation for them.’
5. Go the extra mile. ‘Talking about Which? Trusted Traders has got to be part of your everyday life, all the way through the customer journey’ says Gurdeep Lall of 2 Red Ltd. ‘If installers are just going and doing a good job and coming out, then the customer is not going to leave a review. It’s up to the installer to engage with the customer, explain it – show them what to do, even have the iPad with them and log on while they’re finishing off, and ask them to leave a review, or leave them with a Which? card.’
Some customers will always be more attuned to the review process than others. Zanda Russell of Zanda Russell Designs told us that customers who have used reviews themselves to make a decision are particularly keen. ‘Very often, after I finish a job, people will say, ‘Because we found you on the website, and we relied on other people’s references, we’re going to write something as well.’
Other traders found that people wanted to leave reviews because they were so grateful to find a decent trader, they wanted to let others know. Whatever their motivation, it’s worth encouraging past customers to leave reviews on your profile to help both your business, and your future customers to make the right choice.