Did you know that mastering Reviews/Ratings doesn’t have to be complex?
To show you, we’ve interviewed three Reviews/Ratings experts to give you their opinion and viewpoint on how to be successful with Reviews/Ratings.
From scaling to fine tuning, we hope you enjoy this deep dive.
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Whether you’re in SaaS, eCommerce, or lead gen, you’ll be excited to learn that the recipes these experts will share will all help you hit your goals faster.
In Order Of Guests Below:
Sarah Patrick: Senior Marketing Manager @ Clutch.co and The Manifest
Sarah leads the marketing team at Clutch, a startup research and reviews platform that connects B2B decision-makers with business service providers. I focus on content strategy, branding, and SEO.
Nuggets Dropped x17
“We try to make the review process positive and constructive.”
Claire Brenner: Team Lead, Content Marketing @ G2
Claire is a content marketing professional with nearly three years of experience working in a rapidly changing startup environment. Her specialties include content strategy, SEO, and social media marketing.
Nuggets Dropped x30
“Negative reviews can actually help you look genuine.”
Brian Merritt: VP of Customer Success @ Trustpilot
Brian Merritt is the VP of Customer Success at Trustpilot. His prime focus is ensuring Trustpilot’s 230,000-plus customers successfully adopt Trustpilot’s technology and see a return on their investment in customer reviews, including increased conversion rates, customer retention, brand loyalty, improved search engine results, and a steady drumbeat of customer
Nuggets Dropped x24
“We want to be seeing reviews at key points of your funnel.”
Reviews/Ratings With Sarah Patrick
Sarah: Hi this is Sarah.
Johnathan: Hey Sarah, Jonathan here over at Boost Sauce. How are you?
Sarah: Great how are you doin’?
Johnathan: I’m perfect this is actually funny for listeners. This is the second time we’re doing an intro because the first time I forgot to hit record.
So, Sarah you are the Senior Marketing Manager over at Clutch and The Manifest. And you guys focus heavily on review generation and being the platform for buyers to be more educated during their decision. What role would you guys say that reviews take when it comes to the buyer journey?
Sarah: Of course, so, early on when we started Clutch back in 2013 we saw that reviews played a really big role in the bottom of the conversions funnel.
So, really at that conversion stage when a buyer was identifying and creating a short list of companies and ultimately deciding who they wanted to work with and contacting them. But over time we started to see that reviews are playing a bigger role throughout all stages of the marketing funnel.
So, one data that’s kind of big for us to reference is Demand Generation has a state report they come out with every year about the B2B buyer’s journey. And over time we’ve seen that the importance of reviews has become more and more important throughout the whole marketing funnel.
Sarah: Oh, go for it.
Johnathan: No, I was just gonna ask like: When it comes to different parts of the funnel, that kind of report, what examples do they give? Just so I understand better like beyond bottom of funnel when they’re ready to do their decision making. You know, was there anything that was telling from that?
Sarah: Yeah, of course. So, they said that or they found that reviews play a really important role in the valuation process because what’s important or at least what the survey respondents said was important was that the B2B service provider that they were trying to hire was portraying content that really fit what they were looking for.
So, that means, you know, that they work in the industry that the company was or is currently in, have they been successful with top projects. So, for us that’s really important and telling just because we want to make sure we’re providing that data on Clutch to kind of help these B2B buyers have this one stop shop for all the data they need to make this decision.
Johnathan: Yeah, no, it’s actually funny you say that. Literally before our conversation right now we had a talk with a lead who started their journey on Clutch to find agencies like us.
And he told me point blank: Like, this is just a start of our process and we wanna narrow it down. But we’ve always selected you because of your reviews. And then we’ve also had other companies who’ve gone through, found us not through Clutch, for example.
And then it kinda helps put the icing on the cake that we do have a good presence on, like, a platform like your own too. I can be the case study proving like what you’re saying is true. So, that’s awesome.
Sarah: That’s wonderful to hear.
Johnathan: Yeah, yeah. One thing actually I’ve been really impressed with you guys is which is also kind of annoying but it’s good is the amount of hoops that somebody has to jump through to prove that it’s correct, it’s truthful, it’s an accurate review.
Which I actually think is awesome ’cause it takes away the manipulation but it also can be tougher for our clients even though we think we have a good relationship with them to actually leave a review on the platform.
I think you guys have struck a good balance. How did you guys decide on what’s too much and what’s not enough when it comes to like the accuracy and the truthfulness of the reviews you allow on your platform?
Sarah: Of course. So, I think when it comes to accuracy and truthfulness that’s something that is one of our number one priorities that we’re committed to just because when we started what we were trying to do is essentially cut through any advertorials or sponsored posts that listed top B2B service providers.
But then a provider popped onto that site as part of their decision-making or search process. It may not have the information they needed to make an informed decision. So, for us we really look at the reviewer and make sure that they’re, of course, it’s a real person, actually their qualified to leave a review for a project. So, that’s for the buyers to make sure that they’re getting great information.
But we also want to make sure that the service providers who are testing us with their clients and letting us speak to them are having factual information published about them.
Sarah: I think we, we really advocate to companies that it’s important to have the reviews posted on reliable third party Websites but also to make sure that what’s being published about your company from a client or whoever it is is true.
Sarah: Is factual.
Johnathan: So you guys actually do like the verification through like LinkedIn, for example, is one way I noticed. But you also let’s say for companies or people who wanna leave a review that do not have a LinkedIn profile you can actually book a time with somebody from your guys’ side.
And almost like a journalist write down the factual evidence of the relationship that then turns into a review is that correct?
Sarah: Yes, that’s correct. I think trade off is we wanna make it as easy as possible for clients to leave a review. And then the other side is the extra work to verify that they’re real and it’s a solid review for the company.
So, yeah, we let clients schedule a phone call with someone from our team. And we have essentially a phone conversation or interview to get all the information we think is important about a project to publish for future buyers.
Johnathan: What, if you don’t mind me asking, like, obviously this is an episode about the importance of reviews. Do you guys have any like really, really cool case studies of companies that have joined your platform and then had it be better than expected from an outcome perspective? Like, anything you can share with us?
Sarah: Yeah, of course, so we have a company it’s a user experience company based in D.C. And they were really hesitant to get on the site at first. And we were able to convince them. So, I guess their hesitation was because they’re a smaller company, more boutique and really were selective with which clients they work with.
But now that they’re on the site they’ve been able to really build up their review portfolio. And they come back to us and have repeatedly said that a lot of their really big projects that they’re most excited about when they ask their clients how they found us they’ll say: Through Quest or through organic search which we would, often means through Quest. So, I think that’s been a success story. Someone really converted and got to buy into the process.
Johnathan: Yeah, I had, my withholdings before we joined you guys were the whole feeling of building on borrowed ground because you know it is your platform, you can’t really control it. But at the end of the day it’s like the truth should come out, you shouldn’t be afraid. Like let’s say you got negative review. It’s just a way to actually improve what you’re doing too.
So, once I got over that fear and we started doing it and made it a little bit more systematic for ourselves we’ve seen a decent amount of increase in leads coming from Clutch which we’re super, super excited about. And we wanna do more with that platform too. So, it’s good.
Sarah: That’s awesome to hear. And I guess one thing to add, so, you mentioned this concern about getting negative reviews when kinda that process is essentially taken out of your hands.
That’s one of the reasons why we try to collect so much information in our review process just so that the review comes off not only in most cases positive but also constructive and help the buyer better determine if this is good but if the company’s a good fit for them.
Johnathan: Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. Now, getting to the point of actually taking action we’re big fans of that on the show but like how do B2B companies encourage their clients or their customers? What have you found are the best ways to like grow the reviews on a platform like Clutch?
Sarah: Yeah, of course, so I think what we try to do is emphasize to companies that reviews are really important it’s not just on Clutch. We’ve actually found that the more reviews and the more recent reviews companies have on Quest can increase their visibility on the site by more than 60%. So, we think that also translates to online organic search as well.
So, what we’ll say is from the beginning of a relationship with a client emphasize the importance of reviews. And kinda set it up that you have so, you’re working with Quest as a partner that it facilitates a feedback pipeline where all you have to do is talk on the phone for 15 minutes or submit an online review form and it will greatly help not only the company when it’s a service provider but also future buyers who may be in that difficult and time intensive process of trying to hire the right company for them.
Johnathan: Right and so, like one of the things that we found very helpful was we got the idea back from G2 when they incentivized reviews for a Starbucks gift card or somethin’ like that. So, we actually because we knew it was a more time intensive process the clients that we knew were gonna be like big fans and things like that we didn’t incentivize them with much but for everybody else we used gift cards.
Are there any incentives that you’ve seen work really well for getting, ’cause it’s still a time toll that the client or the customer has to put in, what are your thoughts on that?
Sarah: Yeah, so I think that’s a great idea. It’s something that we’ve tried ourselves especially as we’ve grown and started to cover new segments. So, I think that’s great. And I can see it a lot in like B2B companies where they’ll offer 10% off if you leave a review of a product. So, that’s something we’ve replicated here as well.
Johnathan: Okay, cool. Any other main things that you think from a tactical perspective that people can take advantage of when it comes to reviews even if they’re already started like how do they do better with their review gathering and the performance of that, anything you wanna leave off with?
Sarah: I guess maybe not related to review gathering. But as more B2B companies are relying on third party platforms like Clutch we do really encourage them to make it really clear that they have this portfolio of reviews on their Website and direct their potential customers back to the source.
So, one thing that could be cool for companies to take advantage of is our Clutch widget. So, if you have a company profile with us you can essentially insert this API on your Website and have it be kind of this window into your Clutch profile and your client reviews and ratings without the customers ever having to leave your Website.
So, I think that’s probably one thing to emphasize especially for a company who may be a little hesitant to start questing reviews to your third party is that they’re often seen as more reliable because they’re not directly created by your team.
Sarah: But also they’re a place to integrate it but doesn’t have to send them away from your Website.
Johnathan: That makes sense. We’re gonna, now you gave me a thought, we’re gonna split test that and see how it looks for us.
Well, Sarah, this has been super, super helpful, super to the point too which we love. Thank you so much for spending time with us.
Sarah: Awesome, thanks for having me.
Johnathan: All right, we’ll talk soon.
Sarah: Have a good day, bye.
Johnathan: Thanks you too, bye.
Johnathan: Hey Claire, how are you?
Claire: Good, thanks. How are you?
Johnathan: I’m doin’ amazing, I am pumped. For the people listening this is Claire Brenner on the other side of the line over at G2. And you guys were used to be callin’ G2 Crowd. But you’ve simplified now since then, sounds like, right?
Claire: Mm hm, yeah just recently we made the switch.
Johnathan: All right cool. So, we’re gonna be talking today about reviews especially in the SaaS ecosystem of software businesses what things that people can take advantage of, the good and the bad and also some counterintuitive things that I got a little bit of a notes before this call.
So, I’m excited to chat with you.
Claire: Yeah, I’m really excited. This is my favorite subject matter. So,–
Claire: Excited to be on.
Johnathan: Perfect, well you know the name of the game the more tactical things that you can drop the better. So, I’ll be sounding the chicken horn here and there. But I wanna get, kinda get started with let’s say that you, I always like to start with like hypothetical examples but they’re also very real examples in your world.
We’re a SaaS company, we’re getting some traction. We wanna be able to get more reviews and get people’s feedback on our product. How should people go about that especially when it comes to G2 as well?
Claire: Yeah well I think you just made your own first point which I always say to try and focus your effort on one platform. I mean, there are a ton of shopper review platforms out there. A ton of review platforms in general.
And so, I always think it’s easier to devote your efforts in one place. So, I mean, if we’re talking about a restaurant are they gonna focus on Yelp or on Google reviews.
Johnathan: Good point.
Claire: And so that is gonna look a little bit different for everybody but it’s really just finding out where your audience already is and kind of meeting them where they are.
Claire: Mostly I would say to drive reviews you wanna ask when the time is right. Timing is not everything when it comes to reviews but it’s definitely something.
And so, if you’re going to ask somebody to take minutes from their day to write a review on your product you want to do it at a time when they are actually likely to do it. I say monitor mentions of your brand on social media and if you see somebody singing your praises that’s a great time to reach out to someone. They’re already talking to you. Or if a customer refers a friend to your business maybe reach out to that customer again.
Anybody who’s already taking about you is gonna be pretty likely to take five extra minutes and actually write that review.
Johnathan: Yeah, no, that makes sense. We use something internally for like an NPS trigger. So, if a client gives us a good score not only is it a trigger for a review it’s also a trigger for a case study. It’s a trigger for a referral.
Like, there’s a lot of triggers behind it. So, I like what you said about timing. Take a step back. I mean, we talked about like to focus on one platform at a time. Like, tell me the importance of reviews. Like, why should anybody care about that?
‘Cause it’s one of the things that I’ve been reluctant about but we’re also an agency so we’re not a software platform. But a lot of people don’t now things from the outside. So, why even care to begin with?
Claire: Yeah, that is a really good question. I mean, 10, 15 like five really years ago nobody was thinking about reviews and especially in the software space. And so, I think that shift really started happening with Amazon. But I always say today that reviews are the new sales pitch.
Consumers are so much smarter than people think they are. And they’re not gonna believe what you’re telling them in a sales pitch anymore. But they will believe customer reviews and they will believe people who have actually had experience with your product.
And you can either let those go by. Or embrace them. I always say to embrace them. And that means interacting with those reviews, engaging them. So, yeah I think, that was a different one.
Johnathan: No, I was slow to hit it I’m sorry. But like you were so smart because it’s like people are gonna say good things, people are gonna say bad things. It’s like you can just choose to capture the good things but also the truthful things.
A whole side note is like negative reviews could be great for product improvements or finding out where you’re weak and things like that too. But I never, ’cause for me I was like: I don’t wanna build on borrowed land. Like, I don’t own G2.com. So, I don’t wanna go and build and put all of this effort into reviews over there.
But I’m like at the same time, for me, like the thing that kind of was like the trigger point was it’s another channel for us. Like, not you guys, obviously. But like the other platforms that we have from a agency’s perspective from reviewing. And it’s been working so well for us.
And we can obviously capture a lot of people who are happy and in the moment. And therefore get the actual review and things are looking up. And we’re only live for like a month so far. So, I’m not trying to steal your thunder but I hear you loud and clear. But I like the way you put it.
Claire: Yeah, no, I mean you’re exactly right. I always say that people are gonna write the reviews whether you ask for them or not and whether you embrace them or not. And so, you might as well get in front of it and kinda help to control the narrative a little bit.
Johnathan: For sure. And I know that for me I feel like I have more of like an incentive to write a bad review. I sound like a horrible person but I feel like that’s the truth. And because I expect the good thing, right?
So, if something doesn’t go above my expectations then I’m not gonna go out and leave a review. When you talked about gathering reviews and all that kind a stuff with those trigger points of being in a positive moment.
Are there, like I’ve also heard from people talking about like, you should not have like a crystal, sparkly clean, you know, five out of five stars everywhere ’cause that seems sketchy. You should also have some bad reviews. Which I’m like: But why? Are there any benefits to any negative reviews?
Claire: Yeah, I mean, well you said the first one already which is product improvement. It’s such valuable, reviews themselves are just such valuable insight into your product and what your customers like or not. And I mean, obviously, you can’t take all of the feedback that you get in customer reviews.
But if you identify a theme or a ton of people are saying the same thing then yeah, maybe it’s something worth looking into.
Another thing that I always talk about with reviews especially is in the software space is that they can literally help you identify high risk accounts before they actually chart.
Johnathan: Mm, I like that.
Claire: Yeah, I mean, if somebody is going and talkin’ a lot of smack about your product and you know that they’re contract isn’t up for three months you have three months to get to them and change their whole perspective of your tool, your software.
Claire: That is such a big one. And then yeah, I mean, negative reviews help you look genuine. Nobody is gonna believe a five star rating. I don’t believe it when I read a five star rating on a hotel or a restaurant. And the same goes for software business services.
So, not every product is gonna be perfect for every person. That’s just unrealistic. And so, people will see right through that.
Claire: And so negative reviews, you know, a couple of them definitely–
Claire: Help you look more genuine.
Johnathan: Like you said, if you can control the narrative. And then even if you do have the people who leave bad reviews and there’s still a length of time in their contract, when you mentioned that the first thing that I immediately thought of was Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Have you seen that movie?
Claire: I have not.
Johnathan: No, okay–
Claire: I’m not even sure.
Johnathan: Let me, this is the great movie for people listening right now.
So, basically he’s in this thing called the department of pre-crime. So, he has these oracles, these like I think they’re either twins or triplets. Like, it’s super weird. It’s like a future movie.
And they’re laying in like this like water. And they can see crimes before they actually happen. And so, Tom Cruise’s department is trying to stop these crimes before they actually happen.
And so, my sweet correlation that I’m tryin’ to make is like you have the ability to use reviews like either on G2 or whatever platform as like a little department of pre-crime. Like, before the actual churn happens, the unthinkable happens.
Claire: Mm hm, yeah. I mean, I haven’t seen the movie but that sounds about right.
Johnathan: Now it’s on your list. Now you can watch it this weekend and report back. Cool.
Now, one thing too that I noticed and this is not on G2 but like when I go search for a restaurant in the area that I’m not aware of, that I haven’t been to I’m seeing things on Yelp. And sometimes on these platforms I see, like, replies to reviews as well too. And sometimes I see people doing it really, really poor job because they kind of defend themselves without any solution.
But is there any stats or data, you know, backing up, like, engaging with those reviews as like the software themselves.
Claire: Yes, I mean, number one thing that I always say is that people expect a response. And I wanna say with a negative review, I can’t remember the exact number but I think it’s 60%, something up like that they expect a response within seven days.
Johnathan: Of a negative review.
Claire: Of a negative review.
Johnathan: Wow, okay.
Claire: Yeah. And I think that seven days is honestly even a little much. Like, I would aim for three to four. But yeah, I mean, if you’re gonna respond badly, don’t respond at all.
Johnathan: There’s another, I like that.
Claire: I think there are a couple of things that make a review response especially bad. You touched on one already, getting defensive. People don’t wanna hear that. You want to acknowledge the problem, you wanna make them feel heard.
That said there may be times, I mean, this is a little less applicable in the software space but yeah, I mean, at a restaurant or a hotel or something like that where a reviewer isn’t entirely being genuine. In those situations I always say: Stand up for yourself, stand up for your employee but don’t, still don’t get defensive, don’t get angry.
Another thing with review response, know when to take it offline. If somebody is responding and can’t be pleased don’t do it on the platform anymore. Get their email, take it offline as quickly as possible.
Johnathan: Got it, that makes sense.
Claire: Yeah, but then this one kinda goes for positive and negative reviews where you just gotta take the time to respond in a unique way to every reviewer. I think that a canned response is just as bad as no response at all.
If you are going down the list and copy and pasting the same response to every negative and positive review, it sounds ridiculous but I’ve seen it. Then just don’t because it doesn’t help your case, it doesn’t make you look good.
Johnathan: Right, yeah, I feel like I’ve seen that too before and people don’t have that situational awareness to understand how people perceive that copy and paste answer, cool.
What are some like examples of platforms doing extremely well, like software companies doing extremely well on a platform like G2? Like, can you give us like, I’m sure you guys have case studies you guys are a pretty big company now.
You’ve done great stuff. Like, what are some things where people had more so than just the expectations of gathering reviews? Like, what can G2 help them with?
Claire: So, G2 can help with a lot of things. One of our biggest selling points is our buyer and test data. So, people can come and basically companies can tell when a prospect is researching them versus other companies. And so, they kinda know when someone is ready to buy.
But, I mean, some of our biggest success stories just come from people who like I mentioned earlier have really embraced the idea of customer reviews. They’ve really nailed knowing what to ask, knowing what to incentivize with. Charitable donations are a huge thing for incentivizing reviews.
I’ll make a note right now, you can incentivize only positive reviews on G2 or any site really. People have incentivized reviews with like a gift card for a while now. But recently we’ve seen a ton of people starting to incentivize with a charitable donation on behalf of the reviewer. And that is, I mean, we see crazy success rates with that yeah, so.
Johnathan: So, people have, there’s a higher success rate with charitable donations versus like here’s an Amazon gift card. Is that true?
Claire: In our experience yes.
Johnathan: Wow, people are less selfish and I’m sayin’ that because I would totally grab the Amazon gift card. Now I feel like a horrible person.
Claire: No, I know it’s hard. I would too, I think. We do, we call them event booths. And so, we’ll go to an event that is sponsored by a different company. And we will set up a booth on behalf of that company and Clutch reviews for them.
And in-person, even on online ’cause we knew that in-person when given the choice between a gift card and a charitable donation people would choose charity because if you’re right in front of them and they want to seem like a–
Johnathan: Make you feel guilty.
Claire: Nice, selfless person. But even online I’m pretty sure we see more people opting for the charity.
Claire: So, it’s really cool actually.
Johnathan: That’s interesting, would not think of that. I would think that ’cause I’ve seen, I’ve gotten emails from a software company that says: Can you leave a review on G2 for a $25 Amazon gift card. And I’m like: That would be kinda cool but I don’t know if that’s enough of my interest.
But I feel like if a charitable donation, even if it’s the same dollar amount I feel like there’s more value in actually spending the time ’cause not only do I give that amount of money but I also with my time make that connection happen for the donation. So, that makes sense when I look at it that way I guess. That’s really cool.
Claire: Yeah, absolutely, we’ve had a ton of success with it.
Johnathan: So, we talked about the importance of the reviews and how you might as well just embrace ’em ’cause they’re gonna happen regardless whether it’s somebody who’s upset on Twitter or just word of mouth or like things like that.
You talked about the triggers of people who are prime for basically being reached out to and ask for a review. We talked about the negative reviews. We talked about the benefit of replying to reviews.
Is there anything that we’re missing in regards to how amazing reviews can be for a business?
Claire: I would just say for the business itself who’s being reviewed, let reviews drive your marketing. That is something that we have seen a ton of companies embrace. It’s just been huge. So, reviews can drive content marketing, they can drive social media marketing.
One of our most successful Demand Gen campaigns was sending framed, positive reviews to software companies. So, I mean, customer reviews can just, you know, it doesn’t end once the reviewer leaves their wisdom and you reply.
They can drive your marketing, they can be used in your sales pitch and your sales deck. Especially for sales if your AE, your business representative can find a reviewer who has a similar use case or industry or company size to somebody they’re pitching to. And then they can show how an existing customer that’s very similar to this prospect has such great success with your product.
That is invaluable, it’s way better than your sales pitch.
Johnathan: Yeah, yeah no. You’re stitching everything together for me. I’m just like seeing the things that we haven’t taken advantage of with our reviews so far, so thank you. Continue.
Claire: I’m happy to. But yeah, I think that’s just something really cool that people, a lot of people don’t realize. You know, they get a review, great they reply. They’re pretty much done. But those reviews can fuel a ton of your efforts going forward.
And they can also help you identify those perfect case study candidates. Or your biggest advocates. And so, they have just tremendous impact for your business.
Johnathan: Yeah, no, no-brainer. I completely agree and like I mentioned earlier too we have, of the Net Promoters Score survey that we sent out, one sits at 10. And we know we worked with the client for a little bit. It’s a case study trigger, it’s a review trigger, thing like that too, so, we take advantage of it.
But we don’t which is so silly because we are in the paid acquisition space. This is what we do for a living but we don’t do that for ourselves. Wow, okay.
So, I’m glad that we figured that one out. No, this is super cool. Yeah, anybody’s who interested. Like, what would they if they’re a software business and they’re listening to it right now like what are the first steps on getting on G2 for example?
Claire: Claim your page. We have a ton of software products on the Website who we’ve never actually, people can still review them but they’ve never interacted with their G2 profile. So, I think that is the first step to get started. Claim your page on G2.
That’s when you can kinda start messing around with some of the features. We do have a free profile option. And then start driving reviews. There is a good chance there will already be some on G2. Like I said, people can review no matter what. But if there aren’t then start driving some, run a review campaign.
Johnathan: Cool, cool. Well, Claire thank you so much for spending the time with us. Really appreciate the nuggets that you helped. And also for myself quite selfishly. I’m pretty excited about this. So, thank you so much for your time.
Claire: Yeah, of course. Thank you for having me.
Johnathan: All right.
Claire: Thanks so much.
Johnathan: Talk soon, bye.
Johnathan: All right Brian, how are you?
Brian: I’m doing well today Jonathan how ’bout your self?
Johnathan: I can’t complain. I’m just excited that I get to chat with somebody like you, the VP of customer success over at Trustpilot. Super excited to have you on the show.
Brian: Thanks so much. I hope I live up to your expectations.
Johnathan: We’ll see, we’ll see how many nuggets you can drop for us.
Brian: That sounds great.
Johnathan: So, wanted to talk about, like take it a step back of why Trustpilot is Trustpilot for one. ‘Cause I know you guys are a big platform. You’re very, very successful which is awesome. But like what’s the importance of what reviews do for people?
Like, what is the importance of trust in today’s world compared to maybe in the past?
Brian: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think in today’s world in some ways one of the best things that happened to Trustpilot was fake news. Consumers go out there and they’re looking at companies and brands. They’re trusting the brands less and less.
Brands are becoming more and more inauthentic. However, they’re trusting their friends and they’re trusting random people. If you’re willing to say that something is good you’d likely be willing to stand behind that statement.
Credibility in your Twitter feed. You’re not about to go out there and tweet a bunch of companies that are great. You’re gonna tweet a bunch of companies that are great, that are good, that are performing.
So, consumers are trusting each other in the social proof that reviews generate is what’s really driving the success of Trustpilot and companies like Trustpilot.
Johnathan: Yeah, very cool. I always had a concern and I mentioned this in another segment of this episode where, you know, building on borrowed ground. That was the term I used for like starting the process of building reviews for ourselves, right?
And I was always worried about it because I couldn’t control it. But at the same time I can’t control anybody who’s upset about us that might start more like a defensive move from us. So, not being more on the offense. What are the downfalls of not collecting reviews in today’s world beyond what I just mentioned?
Brian: Yeah, I mean the reality is that consumers are finding and your customers are finding ways to talk about you. Whether you wanna be part of the conversation or not is where reviews come to play. You go there and I challenge any company to do brand name plus reviews and see what comes up.
When you see the litany of review sites that are coming up from folks like Trustpilot and Yelp, et cetera. So, if you’re not actively engaging with your customers to collect reviews and collect feedback you’re missing out on that opportunity to converse with them, understand, learn, correct a problem that exists that they’re gonna talk about.
It’s something like 80% of reviews that are left online by consumers are negative, 20% are positive.
Johnathan: Wow, I didn’t even know that.
Brian: Yeah, it’s pretty serious because consumers that are upset are finding a way to vent their frustration. And there are already a thousand channels to do that. However, when you’re asking your consumers for a review that those numbers flip.
They’re gonna be 80%, 20% negative. Because people, oh yeah I should give these guys a shout out that’s right, they did a good job. Thank them for that. So, like I say to a lot of companies I work with: What’s your review collections strategy? And the answer’s: We don’t have one.
Brian: The answer is: No, you have one you’re just not engaging in it.
So, you know, if you wanna participate you gotta get out there and talk to your consumers and collect. And there is no downfall. I mean, we work and one of the things about Trustpilot that makes us unique and different is that we’re what’s known as an open platform. Any company and it can be reviewed by any consumer.
So, companies with quote unquote closed platforms where consumers can’t leave a review on their own are basically walling off the consumer experience. And they’re creating themselves and their brand image.
Brian: Whereas Trustpilot is anyone can leave a review you get the good, the bad and the ugly despite the company’s best efforts. And are okay with that. They don’t mind a 4 1/2 star company. They question a five star company.
Johnathan: Right, authenticity.
Brian: Yeah, people wanna see the negative reviews. They wanna understand how companies are reacting. That’s what happens, it’s human nature. How many times have you gone on Amazon and clicked on the one star reviews to see what the problems were.
Johnathan: More for entertainment, yes.
Brian: That is true there are some fun reviews out there.
Brian: Yeah you, no, you’re entirely right. And then so from that respect collecting reviews, sharing these feedback that: Hey we heard you, we’re sorry about that. We didn’t 10% off coupon to make up for it.
We actually took that step and we shipped you the right product. We reshipped you whatever was broken etc, etc, etc. That’s the power of reviews and collecting reviews from the consumer.
Johnathan: So, when you mentioned that people have a strategy or like they are able to do that but they don’t have anything that they’re actively doing right now give some examples of like what some good review gathering strategies would be for people.
Brian: Yeah, so what you wanna do is you wanna you know, we kinda talk about reviews there are kinda three different review categories:
(1) Service reviews, how well did the company provide your service, how was your Website and how was that experience buying your product. Then there are (2) products reviews, okay. I bought a book, if I bought a notebook. Did the paper stay in it or fall out. And then there are (3) location reviews. I bought this notebook at this store. We focus on the service side of the house ’cause that’s how easy it is for customers to use and enjoy and buy your products. Your Website was really simple.
So, in that case you wanna collect those reviews immediately. As soon as they checkout the next thing they should see is: Leave us a review. How was your experience on our Website today. And that’s great information that you can share with your product teams, your Website teams to improve the experience of your Website.
You wanna put product reviews typically, you know, depending on what you’re shipping looks like a few days after the customers receive the product, they’ve had a chance to play with it, see if it works. Enjoying it.
And then location reviews you tend to wanna collect after the customer’s completed a visit to the store, to the service center, whatever that physical location might be.
So that’s where you turn out a text message for the customer they walk out the door, leave a review of how was it working at my, Wilmington, Delaware store or wherever it might be. I said Wilmington, I don’t know, just picked a city.
Johnathan: Okay and I know there’s the opportunity to do that, to build a presence on another platform but there’s also other ways. And I know this because we actually did a webinar with you guys some days back.
And it was leveraging the reviews and the social proof beyond the platform itself. Do you have any examples you can share with the listeners on that?
Brian: Yeah, I mean, yeah from my perspective, you know, your Trustpilot profile page, your company’s profile page on Trustpilot is a great place to showcase it. But that’s not where we want your customers to be seeing it. We want them to be seeing your reviews on your Website at key points in the conversion funnel.
We want them to be part of your Instagram story. And sharing that and sharing there. We want this to be on your Facebook where your fans are going to look at how you’re doing and What do their reviews look like.
We want them to show up when companies search brand name plus reviews. So, there are lots of different places where you wanna have those proof points. And depending on your marketing strategy you can figure out the right thing to do. One of the actually awesome things about reviews is that once you start collecting it’s free UGC. You’re not paying copywriters–
Johnathan: User generated content for people not knowing that acronym.
Brian: Sorry, yeah, user generated content. It’s content that your consumers are creating for you about you. You’re not more real than that.
Johnathan: Yeah, absolutely. So, basically you’re sayin’ that you want Trustpilot, your Trustpilot reviews to be everywhere.
Brian: Everywhere and we’ve got, we’ve got case study after case study that show that you know, including reviews in your cart abandonment email. So, if you’re an e-commerce site put something in the shopping cart.
Send them an email after the fact saying: Hey, you left this computer in your shopping cart. Including your review on there, you know, in that email is like oh yeah that’s right this is a trusted company. And it’s like 200% increase in the click through rate.
Johnathan: I saw the same things with the ads too. Like Facebook side for example.
Brian: Facebook ads, digital ads, whatever you’re buying it. That trust mark is like, there’s a research report out there that says 87% of consumers trusted advertising with a trust mark in it. So, you specifically offer this to some of our competitors.
Yeah, they inherently trust that ad. And so they’re gonna.
Johnathan: Yeah, that makes sense.
Brian: You’re spending the money to place these ads to begin with. Why not get the ROI on it for additional dollars.
Johnathan: Absolutely, if you can get more out of it. Brian, you’ve been straight fire gunning all these tactics out which I love and appreciate. What other things do you think people should be aware of or we haven’t asked you when it comes to reviews?
Brian: Yeah, so when it comes to reviews just a couple of quick bullet points here Jonathan. You know, again, you wanna take control of the narrative. That’s the most important thing about reviews. You don’t wanna wait.
If you’re launching your e-commerce company there is a company out there like a pissed consumer or like that’s about to go ahead and have pissed consumer/your brand name. And they’re gonna collecting negative reviews. We call them like ransomware sites. ‘Cause they’re gonna hold you hostage and make you pay to take them down.
Brian: You want that review strategy to happen early. You’re in the middle of a Website redesign read reviews. ‘Cause you know what? You can use those reviews after your Website is designed.
It’s not about today. It’s about having content that you can use all the time.
When you’re leveraging reviews include the date stamp and the name of the person who left it if you can.
Consumers trust recent reviews. It shows how your company’s operating today not last year. So, those are probably three key nuggets there. Hey, that folks can leverage in terms of how they effectively use reviews.
Johnathan: Yeah, no I love that. That’s super, super awesome. Straight to the point like I mentioned too Brian. Really, really appreciate your time. Thanks for being so effective.
Brian: My pleasure Jonathan.
Johnathan: Awesome, well, we’ll be in touch and we’ll chat soon.