The COVID Q&A: Building Consumer Trust During COVID-19 with Feefo

Kicking off the first of our partner Q&A series, we spoke to Feefo’s Head of Client Development, John McBriarty.

Customer review platform, Feefo, provides the tools and insight to build relationships and brand reputation. During this uncertain time, we wanted to find out how Feefo is helping brands deliver the optimum customer experience, building trust and loyal consumers from the get-go. 

What impact has COVID-19 had on eCommerce in recent months?

We’ve seen a huge growth in sales online. Enormous! Clients that had been hesitant to go fully eCommerce or have been holding back on customer experience tools, have since jumped in with both feet. It has pushed a lot of businesses towards changes they had been previously considering but not yet done.

There have, of course, been some tragedies across the high street, but in many cases,  it wasn’t the pandemic that finished them, it was the fact they weren’t moving with the times or reacting to consumer needs and demands quickly enough. Some areas that have seen real success have included:

  • Anti-ageing queries +69% YoY
  • Wine queries +55% YoY
  • Tablet and PCs +62%
  • Kitchen fixtures +32%
  • Flower arrangements +109%
  • Electric toothbrushes +15%

With most of us self-isolating, people are finding that they have more time for themselves and can finally get around to completing some of the household jobs they’ve been putting off for months, even years!  People are adopting a slower pace of life and enjoying having the time to take better care of themselves, which is lovely to see.

The other trend we’re seeing, which started in China, is called “revenge spending”. It seems there are two types of people: those that are biding their time and saving money and then those who have had enough of being in lockdown and are going crazy online and spending money all over the place!

Why is brand trust more important than ever at this time?

There’s approximately a third of the world’s population under some kind of lockdown or restriction because of this pandemic. This means millions of consumers have more time to spend online, researching, studying, exploring, finding new products and taking more time to make those purchases as well.

Really, consumers want to be reassured that they’re spending their money in the right place. Am I confident that my order is going to get fulfilled? What have other consumers’ experience been with this brand? A lot of people are taking time to step back and think, is this a brand I want to continue buying from? Do I feel like they’re doing the right things from a consumer perspective that’s giving me the confidence to make this purchase?

In our space – the reviews and customer experience world – it goes hand-in-hand. As a consumer, Feefo can give you that validation. It’s encouraging, it’s adding confidence, trust and transparency as a third party. All of these things are super, super important for brands right now.

How can merchants instil trust with consumers?

At the moment, we’re seeing brands do this more and more. Our advice is, just as you would in the real world, have an honest and open dialogue with your customers and keep it straightforward.

For example, if shipping is slower than usual because of the lockdown, tell your customers. If you’re using social distancing measures in your fulfilment, tell them. If customer service is not available in all the channels that you might expect, let them know and guide them to where they can make contact. Put all your information up front so there are no surprises. Your consumers will be more patient. They’ll expect a longer lead time. They’ll expect maybe an extra half a day for a response on an email. That’s fine, you just need to let people know that’s the case.

Also, if you’re collecting reviews right now, which you should be as an online business! make sure you’re responding to all feedback. Not just negative feedback, but positive feedback too. This makes those consumers who took the time to leave a review feel listened to, which is really important. Imagine you leave a really nice review on a restaurant you just went to (those were the days!) but that’s the last you hear of it. It’s a shame and a lost opportunity for it to end there. Have a dialogue with the customer. Say thank you, comment on a picture they posted about it. Just engage with them. They’re taking time out of their day; businesses should try to take the same care.

How is Feefo helping brands achieve this?

Feefo gives customers the ability to respond honestly to services and products that they’ve bought or interacted with. We help brands engage with new customers too, by standing out on Google search result pages, or through their Google business listings with the Stars we provide for Google (And Bing)

And importantly, it helps guide visitors through their journey on their websites. For example, we can provide them with different tools to help reduce basket abandonment, to add common themes and comments on different product pages. There are tons of different widgets they can use throughout the customer journey to add trust and to reinforce a positive customer experience.

It doesn’t have to end there either, If someone’s left a negative review and you respond to it or fix an issue, they can also re-rate you on the Feefo platform. You could turn someone who maybe left you a one-star review into a five-star review!

We also use NPS scores so you can find your passives, your detractors and your promoters. This, in turn, helps with your marketing by taking those different groups, segmenting them, and using different email marketing approaches for each. Feefo can help in so many different ways.

What are the most common questions you’re being asked by merchants?

We’re getting a lot of questions along the lines of, “what are my peers doing?” They want to understand best practice during a time when there is no rulebook. They want to understand how they can get more actionable insights from the data they’re gathering. They basically want us to advise them on what the perfect user journey looks like. And we can do that. With our customer success teams, they can share best practice and they have experience of working across dozens of different verticals across thousands of different customers.

If you want to find out more about our partner Feefo and how this platform can help you build a loyal consumer base, contact our team today