In this week’s Feefo Spotlight, we’re joined by Feefo Customer Success Director, Chantelle Knoetze, to discuss the much anticipated 2021 Trusted Service Awards. Click here to listen to the full podcast, or keep reading to find out more about how you can win this year’s awards and the exciting ways you can use them once you win!
So, Chantelle, welcome, it’s lovely to be speaking to you today. Can you tell us a little bit about your role here at Feefo?
Yes of course, I’m Chantelle Knoetze, one of the Customer Success Directors here at Feefo. I work predominantly with some of the larger business that we partner with and have been in the marketing/technology sector for the past nine years or so in similar roles.
Brilliant, so let’s jump straight in and talk about the long awaited Trusted Service Awards. So what exactly are they?
The Trusted Service Awards are an annual award given by Feefo as a globally recognised accreditation to the businesses that we work with. They are given to businesses who use Feefo to collect genuine customer reviews and insights from those customers. The awards are a unique reflection of a brand’s commitment to customer experience, relying purely on verified interactions a consumer has had with that particular business in terms of their products or service.
"The awards are a unique reflection of a brand’s commitment to customer experience"
Ok great! So, then how many Feefo customers would you say receive an award each year?
Our awards are open to all of our customers who collect reviews through Feefo, and we’re proud to say that each year we see about 90% of our customers actually win a Trusted Service Award.
How do you qualify for winning an award? Presumably there are different categories or ‘levels’ of Trusted Service Awards?
Ok, so to qualify for a Trusted Service Award, as a business you need to have collected a minimum of 50 reviews in a given 12 month period (Jan ’20 – Dec ’20) with a minimum average service rating of 4.0 or above.
Each level of award is different and has it’s own unique set of requirements. At Feefo we work with so many different types of businesses of all sizes and sectors, so the way we’ve structured the Trusted Services Awards ensures that any business of any size or type, provided they meet the criteria, have an opportunity of qualifying. The awards have become a bit of a runaway success and every year we see more and more participants which is building a greater level of prestige around it.
So, let me just break down the three tiers of award.
The first one is our Trusted Service Award, which can be achieved by collecting at least 50 reviews, with an average Feefo service rating of between 4-4.4 stars.
The next level up is our Gold Trusted Award, which can be achieved by collecting at least 50 reviews, with an average Feefo service rating of 4.5 stars and above.
Then last year we actually introduced our Platinum Service Award, which can be achieved if a business has consistently achieved three years of Gold status, so basically three years of 4.5 stars or above. We are, however, really conscious that the challenges our clients have faced this year during the pandemic, so will be taking that into account for the 2021 awards.
"At Feefo we work with so many different types of businesses of all sizes and sectors, so the way we’ve structured the Trusted Services Awards ensures that any business of any size or type, provided they meet the criteria, have an opportunity of qualifying"
That’s really good to hear, and obviously it’s been a really challenging time for so many. We of course still want the Trusted Service Awards to be important for businesses, so that’s good to hear that there’ll be some adaptation this year. So, who determines if a business has actually won?
Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that there is no panel of judges or human intervention that happens, which is to make sure that it’s a fair and unbiased process. It’s completely based on the data that’s collected over the 12 month period I mentioned.
Everything is managed by our marketing team, to further ensure that nobody in the business has any influence over who’s won, which means I find out who’s won at the same time as everybody else.
So, when are the awards announced?
The awards a typically announced at the beginning of each calendar year. So, for 2021, what will happen is we will need to wait for the full 12 month view across the year, before running the data and make sure we’re counting every review right through from January to December, that way nobody misses out. It also gives businesses the opportunity to make sure that all their reviews are processed from across the year.
We usually start crunching the numbers as soon as possible, and should hopefully be announcing the winners around January time, 2021.
Brilliant, you’re really building the excitement here! So, if I win, what would I receive as a Trusted Service Award winner?
Ok, so this is our much coveted ‘winners pack’ that every business that wins an award, irrespective of what level, will receive. These packs include a huge range of pre-built assets for businesses and brands to use to shout about their win. We have everything in there from winners award badges for social, web assets, press release templates, window stickers and even print ready posters!
Great, and I can imagine the awards have a real benefit internally for organisations, as well as externally - why do you think this might be?
Actually, on a personal note, a lot of the businesses that I work with have shared with me just how important the awards have become as a morale booster within their companies. It’s a great way for a business to be able to share that success with their own staff and colleagues as thank you and recognition that all the hard work they’ve put into their customer service efforts have paid off.
It’s a real motivator for employees, people love to work for businesses that win awards and feel part of a special company that values customer service. It’s especially good because it really highlights just how important it is that a business cares about the service they provide, and the one thing we all need to remember is that we’re all consumers at the end of the day. Some of the work that Feefo have done with clients around the awards, has actually led to some businesses setting KPIs around the level of accreditation they achieve each year making them really invested to keep working with us collaboratively and hitting those targets.
"A lot of the businesses that I work with have shared with me just how important the awards have become as a morale booster within their companies. It’s a great way for a business to be able to share that success with their own staff and colleagues as thank you and recognition that all the hard work they’ve put into their customer service efforts have paid off"
I can really see the internal benefits there for businesses. So, what about externally? What are the main benefits for brands that win?
In terms of the external benefits, the biggest would be commercial. For example, using the awards as social proof across your customer journey and in your marketing to build trust and credibility. So, used on a website, it can speed up decision making for shoppers, which we’ve even seen turn into an increase in average order values. We’ve also seen businesses benefit from reduced bounce rates when displaying their award prominently on their site.
Brands with a more physical presence are also really proud to showcase printed awards alongside their other industry-specific accreditations.
"Using the awards as social proof across your customer journey and in your marketing to build trust and credibility. So, used on a website, it can speed up decision making for shoppers, which we’ve even seen turn into an increase in average order values."
It’s fantastic to see that so many businesses that want to make the most of their awards and really shout about their success. So, do you have any examples of particular Feefo customers that you’ve worked with who have leveraged their awards particularly well?
Absolutely, to be honest the examples are endless. The first one that springs to mind is the Purplebricks TV ad that launched this year, which took a tongue in cheek approach by playfully mocking Olympic cyclist Laura Kenny for her lack of Feefo Gold Trusted Award, despite her four Olympic gold medals!
I’ve also heard similar ads run on radio too, but most importantly, I want to recognise just how versatile the award is to use across all of your different marketing channels. Social media especially, we always see a flurry of activity around January time, with brands sharing their success and even using some of the GIFs that you’ll be able to find in your winners pack.
There’s also a lot of print, press releases or magazine ads. A lot of our customers also added the awards badge to their email signatures and displayed them prominently in the header or footer of their website.
We also saw a big uptake in window stickers last year. They were super popular, and not just in the UK. We sent hundreds across the pond to America and in Europe as well. Just a few examples, Hayes Travel requested well over 600 to use in their in-store branches, and Mariners Finance use over 500. Even pre-lockdown, when I was still visiting businesses face-to-face, you’d walk into their reception and see these huge posters in their reception, which was always great to see.
I think a lot of businesses see this as a big achievement for them and they’re really not afraid to shout about how proud they are.
"A lot of our customers also added the awards badge to their email signatures and displayed them prominently in the header or footer of their website."
The importance they place on that in terms of understanding their customers and showcasing the job they’re actually doing is really great. You mentioned the winners pack, with the winners assets in it. Could you give maybe your 3 best tips for how businesses can use that this year?
Of course! My first tip would be for previous award winners, because it’s something I come across quite a lot, which is that a lot businesses forget to update their assets each year. So, the first thing I’d suggest to do when you get your new winners pack is to go and make sure that you update everything!
The other suggestion that I’d probably make, even if you haven’t won an award, that here at Feefo we obviously see so many creative ideas from so many industries and brands and we want to be able to share these with you so that you’re maximising your award. What I’d suggest is that you really lean on us. We’re here to provide you with some strategic guidance and some best practice ideas to make sure you’re really leveraging your winners pack and using all of the available assets.
The last one I’d suggest is…take advantage of the free PR! Last year we saw our biggest year yet of businesses lining up to do some collaborative PR with us. This doesn’t have to be straight after you’ve won either, take a look at your full marketing plan and see where we can support with your activity. The Trusted Service Awards are not just a one off, it’s something that can be run consistently across the whole year.
"We’re here to provide you with some strategic guidance and some best practice ideas to make sure you’re really leveraging your winners pack and using all of the available assets."
That makes complete sense, so ensuring that it’s not just a one hit wonder and encouraging businesses to use it across the year and be more collaborative. And what’s the best piece of advice you can give a business to maximise their success with the awards?
For me personally, I think it really just in that consistency. The awards really aren’t something you just shout about once, it’s something you should be leaning on and using tactically throughout the year. So, really my biggest recommendation is to take advantage of the awards all year round and incorporate it into your long term marketing plan across all your channels, not just your website.
Ok, that was great and really insightful. Obviously, as we run up to the end of the year, we’re due to be announcing the awards in January, there’s still plenty of time left to collect reviews in time for this year’s awards. Do you see the Trusted Service Awards changing at all as we move forward?
Absolutely! So this is the sixth year that we’ve been running the Trusted Service Awards, and I think year-on-year we’re completely blown away by just how many of our customers place such a high value on their award. Every year we take on board are own customer’s feedback, which is really important for us, to make sure each year we continue to tweak and evolve the award in line with what our own customers want to see.
I think we’ve created a fantastic community around the awards. We keep seeing more benefits being leveraged by businesses that win each year and I do expect that to continue. I’m personally just really excited to see how businesses respond this year!
Well me too Chantelle, I think this is just gaining momentum year on year and it’s so exciting to see. Thanks so much for your insight today, it’s been really great talking to you. I hope that lots of businesses’ will listen to this and be able to leverage their awards and use some of the tips to make a real go of it this year.
To find out more about the Trusted Service Awards 2021, head to our blog here!
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Nathan is part of the Content Team at Feefo. Between writing blogs and creating case studies, he is our resident webinar guy, spending time squirrelled away in the studio producing and editing all of our latest “How tos”. He loves to travel, which bodes well for his role working closely with our Boston office and overseeing US content.