The transparency brought by the internet has changed the way we do business. Business owners no longer size themselves against the competitor on the adjacent street because, irrespective of locality, all stand side-by-side in a list of online search results; each just a click away from the other. But while this ultra-competitive, virtual environment has served the consumer well when it comes to choice and comparison, this transparency appears to be failing business owners themselves in their quest for real insight to drive improvement. Welcome to the minefield of online review websites.
In a 2014 study involving product reviews at a prominent private label clothing company, it was discovered that only 1.5 percent of customers wrote reviews. Further, the study revealed that 5 per cent of reviews were written by people who hadn’t purchased the product in question. As a result, feedback provided through the plethora of review websites often struggles for credibility and influence. One UK-based start-up believes they have the answer to this problem with a solution that promises to change the way people give feedback on their experiences, whether it be in a shop, restaurant, bar, or hotel.
Founded by Georgina Nelson, point-of-payment rating system, truRating, has today announced its official launch in the Australian market after a successful six-month pilot program. Headquartered in London with a team of 45 employees, Sydney will now be home to the organisation’s first international branch which, so far, has a team of 10.
Using the familiar electronic payment terminal, truRating presents customers with a single feedback question asking them to rate an aspect of their experience using a scale of 0-9 on the keypad. This feedback is then used by truRating to provide companies with a real time view of customer satisfaction and business performance based on key metrics such as service, value or product selection. The data collected can subsequently be used to implement immediate changes and improvements to the business and make better informed decisions that impact the bottom line.
Unlike many other feedback initiatives implemented by companies, Ms Nelson believes that customers will be incentivised by the anonymity afforded by the system and the ease and speed at which feedback can be passed on. Proving this theory correct, truRating reports that on average, 88 per cent of customers provide a rating. Ms Nelson also comments that the system is particularly useful in scenarios where head offices struggle for visibility on localised issues.
“Until now, there has been no straightforward system that provides merchants with validated and trusted ratings of their business, in real-time. Our vision for truRating Australia is to leverage our new technology to transform the way merchants collect feedback from their customer base to drive greater loyalty and profitability,” said Ms Nelson.
Since its introduction to the the UK market in January 2015, over 1.3 million ratings have been collected worldwide with 60,000 collected in Australia during the 6-month pilot program.
Paul Greenberg, Executive Chairman of the National Online Retailers Association (NORA) believes that the technology will provide a more accurate reflection of consumer opinion.
“It’s great to see that Australia’s startup economy is beginning to attract world-class entrants from leading fintech industries such as the UK. truRating is a welcome addition to our market. Its technology has the potential to give Australian consumers a real voice and transform the way merchants engage with customers,” he said.
The 6-month trial has involved a number of local merchants including: Rolld, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, TONI&GUY and Crisp and Jones the Grocer. All of which are now live with the system.
Ray Esquieres, Co-Founder and CFO at Rolld said: “From a franchise perspective, truRating gives us the ability to benchmark performance across our stores, which is very beneficial from a business point of view.”
truRating has also secured partnerships with some of the top-tier institutions in the payments space, including a formal partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as well as PC- EFTPOS to introduce the first iteration of their technology in Australia.
Now, after winning a number of awards for their ground breaking technology, Ms Nelson comments that she’s thrilled truRating has been able to partner with some of the biggest names in the Australian payments and banking industries, who “are embracing innovative solutions in order to continue to provide fantastic support to their merchant customers”.
For the months ahead, the APAC team will be looking to capitalise on rapid growth and technology advancements in the region.