Tuesday 15 September 2020

How misleading are review scores?

Courier services are ubiquitous these days, and we all - as consumers - have our own horror stories, but what about the businesses that rely on these services for their lifeblood? How do they choose which to use? There are myriad ways, just as there are for any business service, from personal recommendation to responding to marketing. But these days people would be well advised to include reviews in the mix.

This courier company has a Trustpilot score of 4.2. And we're guessing most readers are already thinking 'that's OK'. Even Trustpilot calls it 'Great'. Well, here we explain why it's not. Not OK. And definitely not great. First, let's look at the numbers.

They have 785,645 reviews. Of those reviews, 15 percent (117,941) rate the business at the lowest possible - one star. Those ratings invariably mean a parcel or other shipment lost or damaged beyond repair, helpfully summed up by this, their most recent one-star review:

In addition, many reviews refer to the difficulty customers have with Hermes 'customer services':

So what Trustpilot actually reveals is a business...

  • that loses or damages nearly one in six of all deliveries
  • that is very bad at customer communications
And this, in turn, often leads to a potential customer doing even more research, and maybe coming across videos such as this...


For Hermes:
  1. If you are happy with a business model that fails for one in six of your customers, carry on
  2. If not, address the systemic issues raised in these reviews
  3. Respond to your reviews - after all, it's Hermes that's inviting them in the first place
  4. At this rate (assuming 29,000 self-employed couriers delivering 80 parcels a day each = over 2 million deliveries a day, with 15% going wrong = over a quarter of a million botched deliveries) soon no-one will be using your service unless they have no alternative!
For the consumer:
  1. Don't rely on headline scores alone when choosing a business
  2. Read reviews, both positive and negative
  3. Read the business's response to those reviews
  4. When you decide which business to use challenge them on the points raised in their negative reviews (and their responses)

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