Use customer reviews for insight but check authenticity

Customer reviews are potentially a great source of insight but they should be taken with a pinch of salt as the source might not be genuine. 

Mindi Chahal

Positive feedback is useful to brands because it gives them a chance to show other consumers how great their products or services are, and if it’s a negative review it provides an opportunity for brands to gain insight and react to consumers’ disappointment.  

On the announcement that Compare the Market is launching a financial services customer review system in July, Feefo, which provides brands such as Expedia and The White Company with reviews based on purchases, warns about the danger of open platforms where any consumer can post a review.  

Feefo chief executive Andrew Mabbutt says that brands must be careful of open platforms that could be at risk of manipulation and fake reviews and should consider systems that only allow genuine customers to feedback. “The continued use of flawed systems that are open to deception and fake reviews is no longer acceptable,” he says.

Compare the Market will allow buyers to rate financial service products, and other brands have already taken steps to ensure authenticity in online reviews, for example InterContinental Hotels Group only allows feedback from guests once the brand has verified that guest has stayed in one of its properties

Last year American Express tied up with Trip Advisor to allows its card members to post American Express-badged reviews, see personalised recommendations of hotels and restaurants based on other members’ purchase data and attach rewards to their cards from a hub on the TripAdvisor site. 

As the reviews are based on actual purchase data, it adds authenticity to the reviews on the site. 

Insight from genuine users and advocates of a brand’s products and services can go a long way to building the reputation of the business and it could also build trust with consumers when brands are seen to act on negative responses. 

Customer feedback is a powerful tool for brands, but systems should be put in place to keep this insight authentic.  

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