A YORK man who helps businesses stay ahead of the competition by using customer reviews to boost sales has won a top award.

Nigel Apperley, founder and chief executive officer of Trustist, has been crowned a winner at the Institute of Directors Yorkshire and North East Director of the Year Awards 2021.

Nigel won in the innovation category for his success with Trustist which he set up in 2014.

In a previous role as the director of e-commerce at Kwik-Fit, Nigel explored whether there was a link between using customer review platforms and increased revenues.

He ran an experiment in 40 centres, collecting Google customer reviews and displaying them on the company website and screens in its MOT centres - with the 40 branches seeing an average increase in revenue of over 50 per cent.

Seeing the potential for other businesses, he left to launch Trustist.

Trustist helps businesses generate sales by getting stars in their organic Google search results, collecting new reviews to improve their online rating, and aggregating views from every review site to provide a snapshot of their online reputation.

It also ensures that great reviews are automatically shared to a business's favourite social media platforms.

The accolade recognises what Nigel has achieved through bringing an innovative and disruptive approach to their marketplace.

An IoD spokesman said: “Judges were looking for a leader who has developed an innovative and transformational idea that displays creative thinking, has beaten the competition and has been developed and applied to improve commercial performance, operational effectiveness or customer engagements.

"Nigel has demonstrated a competitive edge when viewed next to review sites like Trustpilot and Feefo, bringing Trustist to the forefront of innovative technology.

"Judges considered all aspects of each innovative new product or service, including research and development, launch activity and the actual or likely commercial success of the product or service.

"Key success factors for our winner included the degree of innovation, time taken to market, the design process and best practice, market edge, USP, potential for growth, competition and profitability as well as job creation and safeguarding, environmental sustainability, good corporate governance, use of teamwork, project management capability, customer delight and novelty factor and the use of market research.”

Nigel said: “I was delighted and honoured to hear that I had made it through to the finals in these prestigious awards. The standard of the competition was incredible.

“This award comes at the end of an extremely busy year here at Trustist which has seen our team and client-base grow resulting in the move to new and substantially bigger offices.

"We’ve also rebranded this year ensuring the international nature of our business is reflected in our updated logo and branding.

"As always we’ve been focussed on continuous innovation for the benefit of our clients, innovation which has included being the first to bring in video reviews and to launch our own awards recognising our clients and their efforts in fully utilising the powerful strategy of online reviews.

"I’m very much looking forward to 2022 and the further opportunities it will bring for us to help our clients grow and succeed in their businesses.”