Using customer reviews to drive service improvement, WoM and growth – Interview with Jan Jensen of Trustpilot

Today’s interview is with Jan Jensen, the CMO of Trustpilot, an open, review-driven community connecting online consumers. Through their platform Trustpilot also help companies proactively collect reviews and get real insight from their customers. Launched in 2007, their service has seen rapid adoption with already more than 7.5 million reviews of over 85,000 individual companies. The company has developed strong positions in Denmark, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and is now entering the US. Jan joins me today to talk about Trustpilot, their recent Trust Series which delves into what it takes today to build trust with customers and what lessons other businesses can learn.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: How we built a community of customer advocates – Interview with Joan Babinski of Brainshark – and is number one-hundred and nine in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Highlights of my interview with Jan:

  • Throughout his career, Jan has always been fascinated and interested in customer centricity and service, including how easy it is to like customers and how few businesses do so.
  • Currently, they provide over 9,000 ecommerce businesses with ‘Trust’ scores based on more than 7.5 million reviews and operate in 24 different countries.
  • They allow their clients to engage with their customers directly, gather and act on their feedback which allows them to improve business operations and customer service.
  • Trustpilot recently published a 3-part series of reports, The Truth About Trust, on what they have learned about what it takes to develop customer trust:
  • For consumers, reading and being influenced by reviews is now a fact of life. Jan doesn’t buy anything without first looking at the reviews.
  • However, he also looks for purchases that have both good and bad reviews as he says that he learns more about a business and how they are by how they respond to negative feedback.
  • The aim of the The Truth About Trust series was to address the natural fear that exists for many businesses around reviews.
  • In a recent webinar Jan was involved with they asked the businesses in attendance how many collected reviews:
    • 40% said the collected reviews but only 10% said they made their reviews public.
  • The main challenge for firms that ask for reviews is what to do with them and what impact displaying them will have.
  • Another challenge is that other research shows that only 5% of companies actually tell their customers what they have done with their feedback.
  • There is nothing worse than asking for someone’s opinion and then doing nothing about it. It’s better not to ask if you’re not going to do anything about it.
  • The question now, however, is not whether you want to do a survey or not. The survey is being done anyway by your customers online and on social media. The question now is: what do you want to do about it.
  • You can choose to ignore this if you don’t care about customer service, repeat business and you have no competition.
  • Smart companies are grasping this opportunity with both hands as they are comfortable with the service they provide and they are agile enough to learn and adapt from any reviews they receive.
  • Jan believes that showing bad reviews is a good thing as, naturally, we, as consumers, are less likely to believe things that are perfect and it also gives the customer a chance to see how the business responds to a bad review.
  • Their research shows that 68% of consumers trust businesses more when they see both positive and negative reviews rather than just positive ones.
  • Trust can be built by being open and transparent with your customers.
  • 95% of customers return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. Also, most then tend to score a business higher on it’s customer service as a result (Service Recovery Paradox).
  • When something goes wrong, saying “You are right, I/we can do better and here’s what we are going to do” can be completely disarming and can turn a negative event into a positive experience.
  • Over 90% of consumers say that they trust word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of information about a companies products/services. Therefore, companies can co longer rely on just advertising.
  • 70% of consumers trust online reviews.
  • The buying decisions of 90% of customers are influenced by positive online reviews.
  • 63% of customers online are more likely to buy from you if you display customer feedback.
  • Jan uses one of their clients, Mazuma Mobile, the UK and Australia’s leading online mobile phone reuse company, to show how they have grown their business hugely through the use and display of customer reviews. They’ve been doing it for over 6 years now and have collected nearly 100,000 reviews on Trustpilot.
  • Key takeaways from their research are:
    • Companies are struggling to get their message heard in a crowded marketplace and using reviews and word of mouth can help them stand out from their competition.
    • Consumers will reward companies that are open, honest and show how much they care.
    • Bad reviews can be a really good opportunity to show how good you really are.
    • Displaying ‘earned’ trust scores can help improve conversion rates by up to 58%.
  • Whilst these learnings started in the business to consumer space, leading business to business companies, across a wide array of sectors, are now starting to use reviews to help them manage their overall brand experience.
  • Jan recommends that companies worried about starting on this journey is to just start: to start monitoring and responding to reviews and comments but, also, to make sure, internally, they understand who is monitoring the reviews, how are they responding and what will be done with the feedback.
  • Trust is an earned currency, you can’t buy it. You used to be able to but not anymore.
  • All of these principles can also be applied to internal customer service and can be used as key performance and driver of motivation.

About Jan (adapted from his LinkedIn profile)

Jan Jensen - CMO of TrustpilotJan Jensen is CMO of Trustpilot and is an experienced manager with a proven history of success in key management positions in Europe and the US. Throughout his career he has developed a wide skill-set with expertise including managing direct and virtual cross cultural and functional teams, P&L, budget management, lead generation and building and managing brand equity.

He has also gained skills in public speaking, media interviews, public relations and analyst relations. As part of an exciting team at Trustpilot, he is a pioneer in building and managing customer loyalty, international marketing and sales.

You can try Trustpilot’s software for free at, say Hi to them on Twitter @Trustpilot and connect with Jan on LinkedIn here and on Twitter @JanVJensen.

Photo Credit: opensourceway via Compfight cc

8 comments On Using customer reviews to drive service improvement, WoM and growth – Interview with Jan Jensen of Trustpilot

  • I’d never thought about it Adrian. but how a company publishes and deals with it’s bad reviews is far more powerful than how it deals with the good ones.


    • Hi James,
      I think we all have a fear of ‘what happens when/if things go wrong’ so seeing someone who is a ‘safe pair of hands’ when things go wrong is probably very comforting and reassuring.


  • Adrian,

    I like the idea of looking at both good and bad reviews before buying from a company. I think it tells us a lot about the company… good to hear about both sides of the story.

    I can’t disagree with the importance of not only listening but also doing something with that feedback. Customers will leave feedback wherever they can – it’s imperative that companies listen and act. And close the loop with customers.

    Annette 🙂

    • Hi Annette,
      It’s funny how it many parts of business (and life, I guess) it’s the ones that follow up and follow through whether in sales, customer service etc that tend to be the winners.


  • Hello Adrian,

    You and I loss averse. In a small community we can minimise our downside when dealing with folks by ‘listening’ to their reputation. The online equivalent of reputation is the online reviews by customers and influential others. So if an organisation wants to prosper then it should solicit and publish reviews.

    Why is it that few organisations actually do that? It occurs to me that those with a great reputation and the ‘operation’ to support this kind of reputation embrace online reviews. Here I am thinking of the likes of Amazon. The rest don’t either because of unwarranted fear or because they know that their reputation and business operation is relatively poor.


    • Hi Maz,
      I agree that many firms will shy away from using reviews if their business operation was poor.

      However, for those other forms who do deliver on their promises to not embrace the use of reviews in their business is to ignore the changing nature of the world. They might be fearful of reviews but I am fearful for them.


  • Pingback: Customer insight, big data and the bigger skills gap | Adrian Swinscoe ()

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