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Feefo: Encouraging businesses to actively invite, not fight, customer reviews

The internet can make or break a company’s reputation, but customer reviews platform provider Feefo has designed a unique invite-only model that prompts businesses to actively encourage consumer feedback.
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And that novel customer reviews method allowed Feefo to secure the title of Digital Business of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards.

Having launched in 2010, the customer reviews service today boasts 100 employees across the UK, US, Australia and Asia.

Serving various sectors, which shows a broad scope for the customer reviews business model, Feefo clients include The Fragrance Shop, OnTheBeach.co.uk, Matrix Nutrition, as well as insurance firms and car dealerships.

We spoke to Andrew Mabbutt, CEO of Feefo, about the firm’s award win and how it fought off the competition. He noted that the one key ambition at launch seven years ago was to be the most trusted customer reviews platform in operation.

“Trust still remains its key distinguishing feature, with the fact that Feefo operates an invite-only system ensuring all customer feedback is completely genuine,” Mabbutt explained.

“In addition, everything we do is focused on developing the best technology to meet the needs of our customers. We have worked tirelessly over the past seven years to ensure we continue to invest in technology and people.

“The strategic decision to focus on improving our unique software and build on an incredibly successful platform has been key to our growth and success.”

Reaching said success has meant clambering over a number of hurdles along the way, the most significant of which was translating the concept into a lucrative proposition.

“I had to manage a transition from something that was in the heads of some very clever technology experts into a well-documented, scalable and flexible technology,” he said. “Commercialising the original idea for the tech, as nothing was written down.”

Mabbutt believes that Feefo is able to stand out in a sea of customer reviews services due to its one-of-a-kind, invitation-based approach.

“Feefo works with its clients to invite customers who have transacted with the company to leave feedback,” he detailed.

“This invitation-only model is unique – not only does it ensure data is genuine and trustworthy, it also enables us to highlight the real value of customer opinion on behalf of our clients.”

Another USP in the firm’s possession is its customer reviews and analytics support, which Mabbutt said aids both businesses and consumers.

Demonstrating the way that the customer reviews marketplace is thriving, he offered research that found 75 per cent of consumers are influenced by good feedback. Additionally, 85 per cent of Brits will always check online customer reviews before going ahead with a sale.

“The influence and importance of customer reviews is only going to continue to grow, especially in today’s competitive market where service and reputation is essential for business success,” said Mabbutt.

“We’re witnessing some great results from our customers. For example, after placing the Feefo widget on their site, Monarch saw a 3.1 per cent uplift in revenue per visitor and total flight bookings.”

Another example saw The Fragrance Shop experiencing a 9.4 per cent sales increase after introducing customer reviews with Feefo. Furthermore, other case studies show a rise in traffic from Google on the back of customer reviews implementation, with added on-site browsing of products.

Getting to this stage has been a case of ongoing innovation to enhance the tech. Mabbutt said his personal highlight for the business was rebuilding the software from scratch, three years into launching.

“I would also say, being appointed as a Global Licensed Content partner with Google was also a game changer for us and put our name out there. Working with Google on improving the consumer experience in search,” he added.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, Mabbutt has his eyes set on additional growth.

“We’re continuing to hire people across our UK offices in Petersfield and London, and further afield in our Boston office,” he said.

“We’re investing and growing our R&D which will enable us to launch some exciting initiatives this year including the adoption of machine learning to improve our offering and business insight capabilities.”

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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