Companies know that what customers, prospects and future employees trust most, is peer validation. But only leaders and innovators are using the latest technology and social media methods to obtain that validation.
One of the most reliable ways of selling or recruiting is through word of mouth. If you are looking for a builder amongst hundreds, and your neighbour has used someone that they trust, that is certainly better than taking someone with no recommendation. Similarly many companies encourage and incentivise their employees to recruit on their behalf – it works both ways – the new recruit starts from a position of trust and the employer has a better insight into who they are recruiting. Traditionally this has led companies to include quotes from customers or employees on their PR materials and websites, to show that they have good solid references.
There is now a consumer led revolution starting through ecommerce which is beginning to impact businesses. There is a hierarchy of trust. Consumers are naturally sceptical about the claims of manufacturers about their products. They trust retailers when they know that their collection is carefully curated and the retailers offer guarantees to support their products. But three stars and above on Amazon or similar site from a reasonable sample of shoppers – this sample cannot be too small or consumers start to worry whether there is a fix going on – is the most reliable form of validation. Consumers are savvy – they look at the positives and then they go to the one star ratings and say, “what is the worst that can happen if I buy this product?”.
Following this consumer innovation, companies have started taking the risk of opening themselves up and their services to peer validation sites, such as Trustpilot or Google for customer service and Glassdoor for employee experience. Recently I was a judge on the Comms Business Awards, and as I read through the submissions, I decided to check out on these websites the credentials of the companies. The results were interesting. As at today, no more than 10% of tech companies have well developed scores on Trustpilot or Google. This is because fundamentally this revolution is still being driven by consumer products and services. But those that do make a big impact. Will you choose a company with 1,500 Trustpilot 5 star scores or one who relies entirely on management PR statements? Will you join a company whose CEO get high validation from employees and scores a high rating on Glassdoor or a company which employees write scathingly about? To be successful in gaining high scores in these sites involves hard work and an enterprise effort, and will increasingly give the winners a competitive advantage.
In order to explore these issues I will be chairing a panel at Channel Live in the NEC Birmingham at 12 noon on 11th September with companies that will discuss the interest and the challenge of using these sites more extensively. Alex Tatham, Managing Director of Westcoast Limited, a leading distributor and keynote speaker at Channel Live will be there. As will a representative of Softcat plc, very highly rated on Glassdoor and a consistent winner in recent years of Great Place to Work award. And two of the Comms Business Awards winners will be there represented by their Managing Directors – Darren Leipnik from Think Telecom and Tim Docker of MPS Networks plc, both of whom have invested in the use of validation to prove their company credentials rather than just asserting or boasting about it.
Please register for Channel Live if you are interested to attend https://www.channel-live.co.uk/
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