RIFT Refunds is the UK’s leading tax company, and the only business in the tax sector to receive the ServiceMark award from the Institute of Customer Service. The company was founded in 1999, and has been a family business ever since. The business prides itself on their understanding of the importance of personal service. With two decades of experience under their belt, RIFT Refunds are experts at handling tax Refunds, Self Assessment tax returns and more. Their Customer Charter places the customer right at the heart of everything they do, and ensures that they’re always open, honest, professional and approachable. To celebrate their 6-month anniversary, 500+ reviews, and 8.7/10 TrustScore, we spoke with Gemma Starley, Customer Experience and Insight Manager, to better understand how they leverage Trustpilot reviews throughout the business.
Trustpilot: Why was trust important to you before coming to Trustpilot?
Gemma Starley: When you’re working with people’s financial and personal details, trust is absolutely essential. That means we need to demonstrate our expertise and integrity at all times. Your tax situation can have an enormous impact on your life and family – and, sadly, there are some scams and other dangers to watch out for. Dealing with HMRC is often complicated, and working with companies without the proper expertise and knowledge can be just as damaging as falling for a fraudster.
People come to RIFT because we’re up-front about everything right from the start. We’ve got no hidden fees or hourly rates, and we never try to cram a one-size-fits-all solution down their throats.
Everyone’s situation is unique, and tax matters can be stressful – or even dangerous if you don’t know HMRC’s rules and expectations. We work hard to keep everything as simple, efficient and fast as possible.
TP: How do you use the Trustpilot platform?
GS: It’s so helpful to get the customer’s personal perspective and experience.
Reviews help us to build on what we’re doing best and raise the bar for our service as a whole. We can pinpoint specific needs that we can address, and clarify anything our customers are unsure about. Where there’s an opportunity to improve, Trustpilot reviews both pinpoint it for us and help us gauge how well we’re responding. We meet regularly to discuss and learn from reviews – and they’re actually great motivation for us. Crucially, they let us plan more effectively.
If we see people unsure about how certain HMRC processes work, for instance, we can throw a spotlight on those issues in our newsletters, emails and so on.
TP: Are there multiple departments or teams using Trustpilot?
GS: Yes, definitely.
In fact, the kind of information and insight we can draw from reviews is useful throughout the whole company. Our field representatives find it invaluable to have a finger on the pulse of people’s key concerns, for example. Meanwhile, our customer service teams and Personal Tax Specialists can see where their focus needs to be and what problems need to be tackled. Of course, all of this is happening on an ongoing basis. We’re learning all the time, so we’re constantly improving.
TP: How do you use your reviews on your website and in your marketing?
GS: Obviously, it’s a strong statement to show that you’re proud of your Trustpilot score. It’s about so much more than just blowing our own horn, though.
We encourage people to review us, naturally, because word-of-mouth is such a powerful thing. Our Refer a Friend scheme is enormously popular for exactly this reason. In fact, personal accounts from happy customers are how most people hear of us - and know they can trust us. When someone’s hunting around for a specialist service like RIFT’s, what others are saying about us is far more important than what we’re saying about ourselves.
On a more technical level, the ability to draw our rating into things like Google search results, emails, websites and so on is a fantastic way to show what we can do and why we’re the best at it.
Below, is an example of how we share our customer’s voice on our website:
TP: Do you share your reviews socially?
GS: Yes, we’re very proud of what customers have to say about us and sharing that on social media really encourages new customers to find out more about us.
That’s why we’ve decided to share our reviews on Trustpilot’s extension on Facebook (below).
We also like to share some of our reviews on our social channels. We believe it’s important to show our followers what kind of experience and service they can expect with us.
TP: What are the biggest advantages the business has seen from switching to Trustpilot?
GS: We used to have two separate mechanisms for gathering feedback after a customer’s refund had come through.
Initially, we’d send an invitation to submit an online review at reviews.co.uk to get the broad strokes of people’s experience. Later, we’d send a customer experience survey so we could really get under the surface of what they felt about the process, and how we could continue to improve it.
With two separate systems like this, the response rate for the survey was lower than we’d have liked. It was putting customers to greater effort than was strictly necessary and in some respects asking them to do the same thing twice. With Trustpilot, we can amalgamate the two surveys. After a customer has left us a review, they’re redirected to our customer service survey, with very little drop-out. What’s more, we’re finding that people are much more forthcoming in their Trustpilot reviews, so it’s had a positive impact on both counts.
What’s particularly great about Trustpilot is the recognition factor it carries. People know and respect what those star ratings mean. In terms of what we can do with the information, the analytics in the dashboard and the ability to tag and filter reviews are immensely useful. We can quickly and clearly see any issues that we can address under our Customer Charter, and whether they’re general or industry-specific concerns. The reviews themselves deepen our understanding of our NPS scores and customer service ratings, and help guide our User Experience and customer research and development.
TP: What are your challenges going forward as a business?
GS: The financial crisis put a dent in people’s trust of financial institutions in general. On top of that, rare but spectacular data security breaches in the sector make everyone wary of where and how they share their information. The key challenge for everyone in the tax sector is to rebuild that trust. You have to work hard to earn it, and you have to keep on earning it with everything you do.
Trust, of course, goes far beyond simply proving you’re not a scam artist. There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation around tax and HMRC rules – much of it coming from inexpert or non-specialist businesses. Trustpilot is a great tool for differentiating RIFT from other tax companies. There’s a balance to be struck between presenting essential information clearly and still demonstrating the depth of our expertise. Personal reviews meet that challenge well, by helping us prove that we really can keep both our customers and their money safe.
TP: Thank you for your time! It was great to learn more about your business.
To learn more about RIFT Refunds, head to their website. If you’d like to get your own Trustpilot reviews, sign up for a free account below.