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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

TruRating Delivers One-Touch Customer Feedback at the Point of Sale to Surface Actionable Business Data

Trurating Provides Stores With Trustworthy Customer Feedback
Mike Senecal

Written by: Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal
Mike Senecal

Mike Senecal draws on more than 20 years of editorial experience to update readers on industry trends, business news, and best practices in budgeting and credit use. Mike has worked for decades in academic and trade publishing, including roles as managing editor and technical editor at the University of Florida and as contributor to finance industry publications, including Surety Bond Quarterly and Independent Agent, among others. Mike holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, and he enjoys bringing his years of academic and industry expertise online to help consumers of diverse financial backgrounds.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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In a Nutshell: Georgina Nelson brought her training in psychology and a role as a consumer advocate into discussions with her father about how to retain brick-and-mortar customers in the face of online encroachment. She realized the existing methods to assess customer experience were intrusive, unscientific, and probably counterproductive. So she created TruRating, which asks customers one simple question at the point of sale instead of trolling for their life story through a lengthy receipt-based survey. Because TruRating is unobtrusive, most customers respond, producing far more accurate and actionable data for merchants of all sizes.

Great business ideas sometimes arise from a confluence of circumstances. That’s the case with the fast-growing customer experience ratings solution TruRating, which delivers validated feedback based on a much higher response rate than that of traditional receipt-based surveys.

TruRating can provide businesses with actionable, ROI-grounded insights into the perceptions and experiences of their customers because it asks each customer to respond to a single question at the point of sale. The next customer responds to a different question, and so on, allowing the platform to quickly build up statistically viable yet granular results.

TruRating logo

UK-native Georgina Nelson landed on the idea for TruRating after discussing customer experience assessment with her father, who led the Booksellers Association, a membership organization for booksellers in the UK and Ireland. Nelson had earned an undergraduate psychology degree before pursuing a law career, most prominently at Which?, a UK consumer association where she advocated for consumer data protection.

At about this time, her father was grappling with declining association membership as UK bookshops lost out to Amazon. Georgina Nelson said she realized he could not measure the success of the customer retention strategies he recommended because they were based mainly on sales figures untethered to in-store variables and receipt-based surveys, which most customers ignored.

Putting on her psychology hat, she argued that the data wasn’t reliable or actionable. Remembering her tenure at Which?, she realized that to build the best businesses, you needed real-time, mass consumer survey data.

TruRating is the result. Nelson, who is based in Atlanta, said she knew from her psychology training that people are more likely to respond accurately to a question in the moment rather than after the event. Posing a single question at the point of sale significantly boosted responses and also tied them to the purchases the customer had just made.

“That’s when you know you understand the customer experience,” Nelson said. “If you know what your customers want, you can provide it.”

Accurate Results for Customer-Centric Businesses

Receipt-based surveys sometimes ask a dozen or more intrusive questions, discouraging all but the angriest or most ecstatic consumers. For every mother who fills out a questionnaire to help her son earn a promotion, there’s a disgruntled ex-employee or someone who had a bad experience and wants to take it out on the company.

“They’re not trustworthy,” Nelson said. “Only a tiny percentage of customers respond.”

TruRating provides an average 80% response rate through in-store feedback and a 50% response rate via online views. In-store feedback is genuine and actionable because it ties sentiment data to consumer purchases to help merchants truly understand the value of their customer experience. Alerts notify businesses when stores drop below key service KPIs. Insights drill down to the individual store level.

Georgina Nelson
Georgina Nelson is TruRating’s Founder and CEO.

Online, there’s an option for qualitative feedback through free text fields. Natural language processing technology powered by Microsoft Azure identifies recurring themes in qualitative feedback. The system can plug into an existing collection of responses to ask the most relevant questions. Triggers and alerts indicate which parts of an eCommerce business may be struggling.

TruRating offers plug-and-play simplicity, transparent pricing, user-friendly dashboards, and steadfast support to ensure merchants get the most out of their investment. Any business with a touch point around payments focused on providing the best in-store experience is a fit.

“Our typical customers are companies that like leading the charge in innovation and being customer-centric,” Nelson said. “You could choose any retail category, and we’ve got a lightship example there.”

Asking one person one question is critical because it doesn’t require a substantial behavioral shift or time investment. Suddenly, the business is open to hear from the previously silent majority.

“It’s risky to be led by the angry vocal minority,” Nelson said. “When you hear from 80% of people in a store, you can make business decisions you can trust.”

Publish Store Results Online to Enhance Reputation

Nelson assessed TruRating’s typical customer as a retailer with 50 or more outlets when this article went to press in Spring 2024. Plans are underway to expand the company downstream to encompass smaller companies.

Companies of all sizes benefit from TruRating’s ability to filter response results down to the store level and publish them online. A constant data feed to search engines through digitized customer feedback boosts organic SEO rankings. Merchants can improve conversion rates by showcasing ratings on their sites with the TruRating Badge. TruRating can also power a live feed of trusted ratings for social sharing.

TruRating consumer experience.
Consumers answer one question at the point of sale.

Many businesses cope with stores that have a few reviews over many years that don’t reflect the service they provide. TruRating retailers tend to have more ratings. That builds massive social proof through validated customers, regardless of company size.

“That’s going to be key for smaller merchants, helping them with their visibility on Google as we move downstream next year,” Nelson said.

Nelson said TruRating now has more ratings than any other customer experience platform and will soon surpass Google in retail ratings. It collects an average of about 50 additional data points with every rating. Billions and billions of data points add up to actionable insights.

“Without data, you suddenly might start making business changes on things which legitimately aren’t an issue — they were just one-offs with one customer impacted,” Nelson said. “It’s so important for businesses to get feedback from the majority and see how it actually impacts how much people spend and how often they return. Let’s make decisions on trusted data — it’s better for consumers and for businesses.”

Actionable Data Boosts Decision-Making Confidence

The differentiator for consumers is that TruRating genuinely seeks to serve them, not just mine them for data to provide to paying customers.

“If we want consumers to provide feedback, we have to put them at the heart of our business and how we think about ratings,” Nelson said. “Making the process super simple and quick is important, but so is recognizing what’s in it for them.”

TruRating makes a charitable donation every time a consumer leaves a rating. It respects consumer anonymity. It encourages merchants to publish ratings so consumers can evaluate them. The goal is to create a virtuous cycle guiding consumer choice.

TruRating merchant experience.
The platform measures results at store level.

Meanwhile, businesses use the data to get better. Linking sentiment with purchases allows merchants to measure policies against performance and uncover patterns pointing to areas of improvement.

Before TruRating, the status quo was to spend millions on customer experience surveys and integrate complex platforms only to arrive at the starting point.

“When it comes down to actually trying to action customer experience data at a store, there’s just not enough to go on — it’s too patchy and unreliable,” Nelson said.

TruRating allows merchants to collect such a volume of data that it’s possible to reveal shift times across the day and week and assess costs associated, for example, with untidy stores at certain times or problems with meet and greet.

Working with the Australian franchisee for the athletic retailer Nike, for instance, caused the Nike team to realize that asking customers for their names and recommending other products they could buy resulted in a spending boost of 30%. Concrete ROI figures like that help more businesses make confident decisions to go with TruRating.

“We make sure the data’s actionable and that customers understand the value,” Nelson said.