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Build vs. Buy: What’s the best way to introduce customer reviews to your business?

Looking to collect customer reviews? If you’re not already, then you should be! 94% of shoppers check feedback from fellow customers before making a purchase; and whilst displaying customer reviews on your website can help these increasingly fickle shoppers make up their minds, the trust and confidence they inspire can also increase sales by as much as 300%!

But, as with any major software decision, do you go for one of the many off-the-shelf review platforms, or do you spend the time and money developing your own in-house solution?

We weigh up the pros and cons and look at why investing in an independent reviews platform may be the best solution for your business.

Cost

Building a bespoke piece of review software can be pricey. Not only are there the initial build costs of paying the engineers and testers, there’s also the ongoing maintenance and development to factor in. 

Price BVB

Off-the-shelf review platforms typically come ready-made, with a much smaller monthly fee that not only covers access to the software but contributes towards future improvements. In Feefo’s case, this cost can be tailored according to the number of reviews your business needs to collect, meaning you never spend more than you need to get access to the insights that will drastically help your business!

Scalability

When deciding to build your own platform, you need to account for a potentially rapid rise in users. What works immediately for your current customer base and meets your existing business needs, must still work and be supportable when sales grow 10x, 100x, 1000x. This level of scalability is difficult to achieve on a one-off project and requires a detailed planning and implementation process that can be costly and resource heavy.

Off-the-shelf reviews platforms have been tried and tested on businesses of every size, from independent outlets to global brands. Feefo has the flexibility to grow alongside your business, so whether you’re sending out 100 or 100,000 review requests every month, you’re able to rely on the same level of service – no matter how big your business gets!

Continued development

The world of reviews is constantly evolving, and you need technology that can evolve along with it, as well as a dedicated team to keep up to date with the trends driving these changes. Review platforms are fast becoming more complete CX solutions, with sophisticated AI-powered insight tools that help businesses better understand the voice of the customer and affect real business change.

It’s the job of specialist review providers to continuously optimise their platform for the current market. Meaning the time and money needed to research, develop and roll-out these costly new features is simply part and parcel of the day-to-day operations of a ratings and reviews company – at no extra cost to your business! 

Time to market

Building a bespoke ratings platform from scratch is no mean feat – there’s a lot to consider, even before you start building it – and each stage takes time. For example, deciding how you want to be rated - out of ten? A grade? Star ratings? How will you collect the reviews? Will your platform be closed-off, or open to everyone, leaving you at risk of those dreaded fake reviews?

average time to market

With Feefo, you can be up and running in a matter of weeks. We’ve already made all the complex decisions for you and created a fully independent and trusted platform for collecting genuine customer feedback, with a plethora of plug-ins, adaptable APIs and integrations to fit neatly into your current technology stack.

Control

Developing your own in-house solution gives you an unprecedented level of control over the look, feel and overall functionality of the finished product. Whilst that sounds great on the surface, more often than not a cheaper alternative already exists that provides most, if not all of, the business-critical elements you’re looking for in a reviews solution – so it’s definitely worth shopping around before making a decision.

Custom APIs are also now ensuring that many off-the-shelf platforms can be easily altered to fit neatly into your existing website and branding. 

Trust

When your reviews aren’t collected independently, it creates a seed of doubt in the minds of shoppers that what they’re reading might not be genuine. Even if your business is able to build a fully-functioning, scalable reviews platform, the mere fact that you’re choosing to privately collect feedback rings alarm bells for savvy shoppers who are more aware than ever about the risks of fake feedback.

By using an independent platform, customers can see a clear distinction between your brand and the reviews you’re displaying – which goes a long way towards increasing credibility and building trust. At Feefo, we pride ourselves on only collecting verified reviews from genuine customers via our invite-only model. We’ve built a reputation that customers and businesses can depend on, so when people see the Feefo logo alongside a review they know that what they’re reading is accurate, and most importantly, trustworthy!

Going beyond reviews

The final thing to consider is just how far reviews and ratings software has come in recent years. It’s no longer enough to simply collect reviews and display your score on your website; there’s an untapped wealth of data and insight at every company’s fingertips just waiting to be uncovered behind every review.

Many off-the-shelf review providers are investing a lot of time and money developing sophisticated insight and analytics tools capable of allowing companies mine this data; helping them go beyond the ratings to better understand their customers and deliver an even greater customer experience. Developing a platform capable of doing this however takes a lot of time, resource and expertise. It often involves significant investment in artificial intelligence, and the developmental skills and knowledge to understand how best to extract insights from word-heavy customer feedback.

 

If your business specialises in something unique, has the developer skill and capacity to tackle a new large-scale project, or just wants complete control over the way your reviews are handled, then building a bespoke solution will give you the flexibility you need. This of course comes at a steep price, with none of the credibility that comes with using a truly independent reviews platform.

We’ve built a scalable and adaptable out-the-box solution that can be tailored to meet the needs of your business at a fraction of the cost. Our platform has been purpose-built to handle all your customer review requirements, from effective feedback collection to in-depth CX analysis.

To find out more about how you can start collecting customer reviews with Feefo, get in touch today.