Monday, 11 February 2013

Show me an honest review!

Customer feedback is one of the most crucial tools in any business's box.  After all, if your customers don't tell it like it is, how do you know if your product or service is actually making them happy?  And genuine testimonials from existing customers are a very powerful tool to encourage new customers through your front door.

The key word there is "genuine".

The Guardian published a very insightful article recently about the problem of fake customer feedback.  Businesses have been found paying third parties to leave bogus top-quality reviews - and it's often all too easy for a competitor to leave a fake negative review on an open site.

Take TripAdvisor for example.  Hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfasts can collect feedback from genuine customers there - but it's an open-access site, which means it's perfectly possible to leave a bad review for somewhere you've never even stayed.  That means it's far too easy for competitors to anonymously take pot-shots and try to bring the competition down.

So, as a business owner, how do you ensure that you're collecting only honest feedback from genuine customers?

That's one beauty of the Feefo model, which collects feedback by only e-mailing customers who have actually bought from a particular business, and then that feedback, good and bad, is shared with the supplier.  Even that isn't completely secure because a researcher - or a competitor - could still buy a cheap product and leave a fake review, but it's a good start.

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