The butterfly effect: how a bad customer review can damage your reputation

Posted by Sarah Taylor on Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Shopper satisfaction is at its lowest ebb since July 2016, according to the Institute of Customer Service. However, this figure isn’t indicative of all customer experiences. Some retailers are bucking the market trend and increasing revenue, while others are struggling to meet consumer expectations.

Sales figures aside, one of the most powerful metrics for measuring success is customer feedback. Far from today’s headlines being tomorrow’s fish & chip paper, in the digital age, retailer reviews are available for eternity.

But what exactly is the impact of a good – or bad – Trustpilot rating? Our new ebook: The Secret to Outstanding Customer Service uncovers the truth, after speaking to four retailers who are getting their rating right.

The butterfly effect

Not every retailer puts a strong emphasis on securing good customer reviews – yet the importance of positive feedback should not be underestimated. 95% of shoppers will check online comments before deciding where (or even whether) to make a purchase, while consumers are four times more likely to buy from a brand that displays at least five product reviews on its website.

These figures demonstrate the ‘butterfly effect’ that customer feedback can have on a retailer’s reputation. One poor comment might not seem to matter, but when added to others, it has much larger consequences for sales figures and brand loyalty. If retailers improve ratings, this positive feedback gathers momentum, enhancing their brand popularity – and their bottom line.

Providing outstanding customer care

To prove the value of a great customer reputation, we spoke to four retailers that have achieved Trustpilot 5* ratings for our new ebook. One of these is Richer Sounds, who is this year’s Which! Retailer of the Year.

The world has changed considerably since the Richer Sounds was founded in 1978, yet the retailer has been consistently praised throughout these four decades for its outstanding customer care.

In order to help retailers with a lower Trustpilot rating improve their scores, we asked Richer Sounds’ CEO, Julie Abraham, how the brand maintains such positive feedback. Her answer may surprise many retailers; they focus on colleagues rather than customers.

In her words, “we pay well, we train well, we acknowledge hard work, and we give people the tools to make their job as easy as possible…. if we take good care of them, we know they’ll take good care of our customers.”

A wider team effort

Julie’s toolkit for a top-performing colleague is interesting, as she mentions the benefit of giving staff the right resources to do their job to the best of their ability. The other retailers we spoke to – Ribble Cycles, Axminster Tools and The Savile Row Company – also noted the importance of partnering with the right people, and using the right technology, to ensure a smooth customer experience.

Securing good customer reviews is a team effort, and that team does not just consist of the people working within that brand. Suppliers and external partners have a huge impact on retailer’s service capabilities, as the right operational software enables them to view critical information in real-time, draw on valuable data insights, automate key processes, and view business activity holistically. Ultimately, these are all necessary elements to make the customer journey completely seamless.

Small changes make a big difference

Given the huge emphasis that consumers place on peer feedback, retailers need to prioritise great customer experiences. One poor review doesn’t matter in isolation, but if more and more begin to appear, it has a marked impact on their Trustpilot rating – and damages their reputation.

The same butterfly effect can apply to internal processes as well. If one area of operations isn’t functioning well, the cumulative impact this has over time – especially when added to small inefficiencies in other parts of the business – markedly affects that retailer’s ability to serve customers effectively, and therefore harms their reputation.

As our Secret to Outstanding Customer Service ebook reveals from talking to 5* rated retailers, the quest to keep customers happy is a team effort, and that team includes external partners. Sanderson is delighted to provide technology solutions for all four of the retailers we spoke to, and to play a pivotal role in their continued success.

Download our free ebook: The Secret to Outstanding Customer Service for a full customer satisfaction check list and more insights from Trustpilot 5* rated retailers.



Topics: Retail Solutions, Multi-Channel Software, Customer Experience, Multi-Channel Retail, Five Star Customer Service