The pressure is mounting on telcos.

As we mentioned before, they’re in desperate need of a little relationship therapy with their customers.

We’re not pretending this isn’t a tough ask. They’ll still need to win over new customers while keeping existing ones on board.

But it’s tough to do any of that while they’re getting slated online.

Why are online telco reviews so bad?

Look for online review scores for telecoms companies in Europe and you see a pretty dire picture.

Of 20 European telcos we analysed, 42% have very poor ratings and only 29% positive.

Let’s look at one in particular. (Not picking on you, Vodafone – they’re all pretty bad.)

bad_example
Vodafone's reviews from Trustpilot

Look at basically any other phone, Internet or TV service provider and you’ll get a similar story.

Let’s hop across the channel to France and take a look at SFR, one of the country’s largest telecoms.

french_reviews
French reviews on meilleurmobile.com

It seems like some things transcend language. People don’t like their telcos.

But is that really true? I mean, across Europe, telecoms companies are doing some pretty cool stuff.

Network strength and reach have never been better. New EU regulations and improvements to the network mean you can use your data pretty much anywhere in the world. Maybe we’re looking at a perception issue here. Maybe the issue isn’t the content of the online reviews, but how those telco reviews are collected.

Let’s take a look.

The trouble with open systems

Telcos are getting terrible online scores because of the type of review systems they’re using: open systems (that let anyone and everyone write a review) or in-house systems (that just don’t have the right functionality).

On open review systems, anyone can leave a review. They don’t need to prove they’re a genuine customer – they just set up an account.

This makes these systems ripe for abuse — from competitors, trolls, pranksters… all kinds of weird people with too much time on their hands.

Open review systems are also increasingly compromised by bots and “incentivised” reviewers – basically, people getting free stuff in exchange for writing positive stuff.

But shouldn’t you let anyone and everyone write a review?

Of course, there’s no excuse for censoring or editing reviews. We’d never do it. The difference with a ‘closed’ review system like Reevoo is actually the opposite – we ask everybody – and we mean EVERYBODY – that purchased that product, or phone plan, or broadband package.

That’s the important bit – every request we send out is linked to a proof of purchase.

That way, we get more reviews (because we ask everybody) and a more balanced score (because we don’t just let those who are really angry or really delighted).

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The in-house approach

In-house review systems are also riddled with problems:

1. They are difficult and expensive to build and maintain

2. They don’t reach out proactively to customers, meaning that reviews tend to be dominated by complaints

3. They are not very trustworthy, because they’re operated by the telcos themselves

The answer?

Closed, third-party review systems.

These collect and publish reviews (on your own site!) only from verified customers, ensuring genuine reviews.

They reach out to your customers proactively, giving satisfied customers the opportunity to act as online advocates.

They’re also far more trustworthy than in-house reviews as the entire process is handled by a third-party.

Currently, telcos reviews online are doing the opposite of what they should be. There’s an easy way for them to change that.

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How telcos can improve their bad online ratings