How Upad uses reviews to drive investment, brand reputation, and referrals

Monday, 26 March 2018
uPad case study

Upad is the UK’s largest online letting agent, offering a simple and cost-effective way for landlords to find tenants for their properties. It was founded in 2008 by portfolio landlord James Davies and since then has gone on to secure 40,000 successful lets. This is equivalent to a high-street agency with 60 branches.

Upad joined Trustpilot back in 2012. The first reviews rapidly showed that landlords needed help with finding tenants and seeing the rental process to completion. As a result, James changed the business from a self-service proposition to a professionally supported offering.

Today, Upad prides itself on remarkable customer service and provides every landlord with a qualified Account Manager to hold their hand through the entire rental process. It now has an army of loyal customers returning to let additional properties.

“With any truly innovative product you expect to gain traction from early adopters, but to grow you need to reach the laggards, convincing them to try what is a new way of doing things. I have found nothing more effective at doing this than genuine and independent reviews, hence why Trustpilot is so vital for our business.”
-- James Davis, founder and CEO

Over 60% of new customers say that they read a Trustpilot review before signing up to the Upad service. “Trustpilot is an integral part of the strategy to acquire new landlords,” says Marketing Director, Michael Benjamin:

Key Statistics

  • 10% increase in paid ads conversion rate

  • 60% of new customers read a Trustpilot review before using the service

  • TrustScore 9.6

  • Over 800 reviews

  • 84.4% of reviews are 5 star

Building credibility and increasing investor confidence

Upad is disrupting the traditional lettings market through an online business model combined with AAA customer service.

Like many other fast growth businesses, Trustpilot reviews have provided potential investors with a further level of confidence by supplementing impressive financial results with genuine evidence of Upad’s sustainability.

Upad has taken their landlords’ loyalty a step further, raising over £1m from their own customers so far. These customer investors were initially identified and approached based on the feedback found in their Trustpilot reviews.


Using reviews for cost-effective marketing that beats the competition

The lettings market remains highly competitive and Upad isn’t the only player in the online category. With lots of new and old agents presenting their offerings, it can be hard for customers to decide who delivers the best service. Upad uses authentic customer reviews to help them stand out from their competitors.

“Our Trustpilot reviews are used from Senior Management down to the Account Managers. They are used for investor decks when outlining the value of the Upad proposition to investors and on the phone to landlords who are enquiring about the service, but aren’t yet sure if they want to proceed.” -- Michael Benjamin, Marketing Director

Five-star customer reviews feature throughout Upad’s marketing campaigns, including email and social media, generating high click-through rates and new customer leads. “Within our Google branded paid ad campaign we have seen that when our adverts show up with the Trustpilot stars, we get a 10 point increase in conversion rate versus the average campaign conversion rate,” says Michael.

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Upad’s Google Seller Ratings has improved their paid ad conversion rate by over 10%

"In this day and age, all companies have a library of amazing words to describe their product and it becomes really difficult for consumers to truly conclude which service is actually the best for them. By reducing the amount of marketing speak - choosing to instead quote and showcase the reviews of our customers - we have seen higher levels of engagement. That means for every advertising pound we put to work, we achieve a more efficient cost per visit.”
-- Michael Benjamin

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Trustpilot reviews are also used as the main driver for engagement by highlighting feedback on social channels

Delivering a service powered by recommendations and referrals

As Trustpilot reviews revealed to Upad, landlords often lack the knowledge they need to perform the job themselves. It’s an industry full of trade secrets where it’s necessary to rely on the experiences of others to navigate the rental process. It’s no surprise that happy Upad customers tell their landlord friends about the experiences they’ve had. It’s a huge testament to their exceptional customer service that one-third of Upad’s customers have referred a new landlord.

Michael says: “Landlords are continuously sending emails, phoning in, and sharing positive feedback about the brand. We needed a way to centralise and visualise these positive reviews. Of all the review companies out there, Trustpilot were by far the most credible.”

Trustpilot reviews now serve a vital role in attracting new business online. “I actually think in a fast paced digital and mobile marketing culture, word of mouth is undervalued… It still surprises me the amount of landlords who call up and explain they have either read a review on Trustpilot or have been referred by a friend who is a landlord. In fact, over 60% of new customers tell us they read a Trustpilot review before using the service” says Michael.

Customer feedback used for motivation and reward

Upad recently celebrated gaining a Trustpilot score of 9.6, the highest within the online lettings sector, by creating a ‘Thank You’ message that they shared with customers on social media.

Account Managers are also rewarded when they are named in a Trustpilot review. This helps to reinforce Upad as a customer-centric business by celebrating the hard work and success of team members who delight their customers.

Chirag Patel, one of Upad’s account managers, has done such a good job of getting landlords to ‘name drop’ that Upad created a social media campaign exclusively using reviews that mentioned him.

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Continuing to challenge the market

Traditionally landlords would expect to pay upwards of £1,000 to let their property. Upad landlords receive this service for just £120. But in the online market, they continue to compete on quality of service over price as Michael explains: “The challenge we face is to create more noise across the sector. There are new entrants who come and quickly go because they try to undercut Upad by offering customers a substandard experience and very little support. Trustpilot helps because genuine and honest reviews clearly outline that you get what you pay for.”


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