Deriving Trust From Rich Reviews

Not that kind of “rich.”

These days, for individual consumers like you and me, reviews are everywhere: Yelp, Google, Facebook, Amazon…the list goes on. But if you’re a small business owner searching for supplier reviews before making a major purchasing decision, good luck finding anything useful. There’s no reliable source for quality B2B reviews.

Years ago, we at Kinnek set out to change this. We wanted to bring the power of consumer reviews to the small business world. Of course, we knew we had to adapt the consumer review model to be truly useful to small business needs.

Our mission was to make each and every Kinnek review a rich customer story, told by one business owner to another and explaining in detail their experience with that supplier.

With this mission in mind, we spent years researching small business purchasing habits, speaking to hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and working with thousands of B2B suppliers. We learned what types of information small business owners found most (and least) helpful and what types of information suppliers wished were included in reviews of them. We put our blood, sweat, and tears into honing the design of our next-generation review tool.

Here’s a recap of what small business owners found least helpful:

  • Anonymous reviews (with no information about the identity of the reviewer or their relationship to the supplier)
“Oh, of course, KZ in California! Now I really trust this review.”
  • Short, non-descriptive reviews
“Very unhelpful”
  • Customer reference lists or logo collages with no supporting information
“A long, boring, plain-text list of customer names? This changes everything!”
“Ooh, colorful logos with no context! So helpful!”

Kinnek reviews were designed to avoid these major pitfalls. Each Kinnek review is brimming with useful information and intended to paint an accurate picture of a supplier. A Kinnek review — signed, descriptive, and full of context — is more powerful than hundreds of anonymous, non-descriptive, context-free reviews. It can make the difference between a business choosing a supplier or not.

Still not convinced? Take a look at the Kinnek review below:

Notice the 9 major elements of a Kinnek review that set it apart from other reviews:

  • Identity of the reviewer: Our reviews are never anonymous. Who can be in the business world? B2B is all about trust, and we understand that. When you read a Kinnek review, you know exactly who wrote it.
  • Verified customer: Kinnek reviews actually contain a “Verified customer” icon confirming that the reviewer did in fact purchase from the supplier they’re reviewing. Kinnek’s Trust Team has actually seen the invoice / shipping receipt / other relevant documents, so you can trust the integrity of the review.
  • Length of the relationship: Our reviews show how long the reviewer has been a customer of the supplier, so you can have a sense of how deep the supplier-buyer relationship is and how much weight you should place on the review.
  • The review text itself: Our reviews are not one-liners. Our reviewers are business owners themselves, and they want to be helpful to other business owners. They write reviews that function as mini-stories and create a community of support among small business owners. The Kinnek community is what makes Kinnek reviews so powerful.
  • Images and videos: Reviewers can add images and videos of the products/services they purchased from the supplier, to bring their reviews to life and give even more useful context.
  • Purchases the reviewer has made from the supplier: When reading a Kinnek review, you actually know not just that the purchase has been verified by our team but what specific items the reviewer has bought from the supplier they’re reviewing. This helps you make apples-to-apples comparisons in your own purchasing decisions.
  • Endorsements for specific capabilities: In addition to the review text, a Kinnek review also shows specific capabilities that the reviewer endorses the supplier for. This gives a quick snapshot of the supplier’s capabilities and provides yet another source of external validation.
  • Sub-ratings: We know that it’s tough to distill a supplier down to a single number. That’s why we don’t stop at a single star-rating. Kinnek reviews contain sub-ratings where the reviewer can rate the supplier in multiple areas, including Product Quality, Communications, and Shipping.
  • Review comments: Since business is based on relationships and being responsive to customer needs, we encourage suppliers to respond to their reviews on Kinnek and start a conversation with the reviewers. This way, they can learn more about their customers, improve their own service, and demonstrate to others that they care about their customers.

With such rich reviews, it doesn’t take many to make an impact.

From our own internal research, we’ve found that if a supplier gets 10 rich reviews on Kinnek, it can have even more impact on their trustworthiness than getting hundreds of mediocre-quality reviews.

If you’d like to see examples of more Kinnek reviews, check out these.

We’re so excited to share more about the power of Kinnek’s B2B-optimized reviews and how they can help you! Whether you’re a small business that wants read reviews about suppliers or you’re a supplier that sells to small businesses and wants to learn more about how you can use reviews to build customer trust, email us at questions@kinnek.com or call us at (800) 784–3151. We’d love to chat more!


Karthik Sridharan is co-founder & CEO of Kinnek.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he was formerly a Researcher at AQR Capital Management. He’s passionate about helping small businesses. In his spare time, he enjoys breakfast cereal, the Utah Jazz, and mangoes.