In our experience, the five most important steps for an impressive word-of-mouth reputation are:
- Having the right mindset for great customer service
- Putting in effort
- Actively engaging with customers
- Learning and improving through customer feedback
- Repeating the cycle and refining
Companies that work hard with these aspects often build considerable trust with their customers - and see a corresponding boost in their TrustScores.
The right mindset for great customer service
The key to a great TrustScore is delivering great customer service. And developing the right mindset for great customer service starts with caring about it. Companies who care enough about their customer service levels to devote specific attention and resources to it put themselves in the best position to improve it. It also makes sense that the companies who place the most value on customer service are also those who choose to invest the time and resources in attaining and working with customer feedback. At Trustpilot, we see that companies who use our paid services, including our Automatic Feedback Services that let them invite all of their customers to leave reviews, are also companies that have a strong desire to enhance what they deliver. They make it their priority to work on making their customers happy.
Putting in effort
Improving customer service and online reputation takes work. There aren’t any magic shortcuts, and companies have to put in the time and effort. Inviting your customers to write reviews is one way of investing in the information you need to do better. It’s an initial step in gathering intelligence on how your company can work towards great customer service. By asking for customers’ feedback, you’re also interacting with them and showing that their opinion matters to you. Making people feel valued and respected is likely to have the spillover effect of positively influencing those customers’ views of your company. And happy customers are also potential brand advocates who might choose to share their opinions. We also see that actively asking customers to leave reviews often correlates with a higher number of positive reviews - at least where companies start with good customer service. We think it’s part of what we call activating “the silent majority” - getting reviews from customers who normally wouldn’t bother to leave a review. There may also be flow-on effects that reward companies showing an interest in feedback and improvement, which of course customers appreciate.
Actively engaging with customers
Listening to and engaging with your customers shows that you’re human. It also lets them know that you care about what they have to say and how they feel about what you do for them. Responding to reviews that you’ve invited customers to leave about your company demonstrates your interest in making sure they have good experiences. Replying to reviews is also an opportunity to rescue unhappy customers quickly and with integrity, and this can reveal the sound principles you’ve built your company on.
Learning & improving through customer feedback
The advantages of actively engaging with people quickly snowball. The knowledge you gain from hearing what aspects of your service your customers like or dislike is invaluable. This is critical information - straight from the horse’s mouth. It lets you pinpoint exactly what your customers want, and deliver precisely that to improve their buying experiences. Tools that make it easier to collect, manage, analyse and learn from reviews make companies better and more efficient at putting customer feedback to use. This means they can prioritize changes that make a real difference, gauge the customer response, then make more positive adjustments. Features available with Trustpilot’s paid services - like being able to tag and sort reviews into categories - let companies build a useful overview of the areas that urgently need attention, those that could be polished further, and any that already shine.
Repeating the cycle and refining
Companies can continuously improve their customer service by repeating this cycle of investing care and effort, actively engaging with customers, learning, and improving on what they deliver. With the right amount of investment, this can lead to happier customers, more positive reviews, and an increasing TrustScore to match. It makes sense that by repeating the cycle, you’ll also get more customers to review. Inviting all of your customers to write reviews can lead to a more representative image of your customer service. Our data also shows that review volume increases with actively inviting customers to leave reviews. And as more customers review, companies gain a more nuanced picture of how their services are perceived. Clearer and more detailed feedback from a high number of reviews offers truly valuable learnings. It can help lift customer service levels substantially if companies then implement more targeted tweaks and improvements that delight customers.
There are no shortcuts!
At Trustpilot, we provide companies with a range of tools that can help them improve their customer service and build their online reputation. Of course, we’ve already outlined a few flow-on effects that can occur from simply taking an interest in customer feedback.
But let’s be clear. A company will not automatically improve its TrustScore just because it becomes a Trustpilot customer. The TrustScore calculation is 100 percent objective and doesn’t discriminate between companies that are Trustpilot customers and those that are not.
To improve its TrustScore, a company has to dedicate the care, effort and resources to actively engage with its customers, respond to reviews, learn from them and improve its offerings.
And companies that care about customer service and have consciously decided to invest resources in working with customer feedback give themselves a head start. They can relatively quickly make key changes to drive improvements in their service level - and correspondingly - they’re likely to see an improvement in the type of reviews they receive, and their TrustScores.