So you’re eager and ready buy that new range for your kitchen. Or hire a photographer for your wedding. Or you’re in the market for a new SUV. Or want to know where the best Thai food in town is. If you’re like most people, what’s one of the steps you take before plunking down your hard-earned cash?
Read a review
As a consumer, when looking to buy something your decision is most likely influenced by reading reviews, especially as the price tag rises. EBay was one of the pioneers to implement an online review-based transaction process that turned out to be brilliant yet simple, and the foundation to their sustainability after all these years. Maintaining a positive review score encourages the buyer to give preference to those that rate high, while motivating the seller to do what’s necessary to please the buyer and earn a positive review. Simple, efficient, and generally very reliable.
How often do we see and hear the word value or phrase delivering value when reading or discussing what makes a business successful, success that’s not differentiated solely on price. It’s easy for a seller to “say” they deliver value, because it’s one of the right things to say when in front of a potential customer, but it’s quite another to actually deliver value, which can be measured in so many different ways. What’s perceived as value to one may not be considered value to another. In today’s marketplace, where the customer possesses virtually all the power, especially in an online marketplace, identifying and delivering value to a wide array of customers can be tricky and perplexing.
Enter the review
Customer reviews are the great equalizer in the marketplace. For the buyer they build confidence in the purchase decision, provide peer feedback data, and move them along the buying cycle. For the seller, reviews help get inside the customers’ head, they can (should) cause a business to level-up their game, and they can help to define what value means to the customer. Reviews can also result in a learning, if not humbling, experience.
About five years ago I was introduced to a simple and easy to use automated online survey service for Paw Print & Mail made available to me through one of my trade groups. The service, provided by Survey Advantage, has turned out to be one of the most valuable tools I’ve ever implemented over my 26 years in business. Not only has this tool influenced my sales and marketing efforts, but also my customer service standards; which in turn comes back around to influence sales. Do good work, earn good reviews, and build more sales. Repeat, then repeat again, and again. I call it the circle of business life!
But if you choose to solicit reviews, be prepared for a little surprise, if not disappointment, now and then. Sorry to break the news but life isn’t perfect and sooner or later, no matter how hard you try to please, a sour review will come along. Maybe you really screwed up an order, or maybe it’s not a screw up at all but a miscommunication or perception that has influenced the bad review; but that’s the checks-and-balance part of the equation and the part that makes you better, if you care and pay attention.
The key to handling a poor review is to respond immediately, clearly understand the nature of the complaint, ask what it would take to fix the problem, then do the right thing.
Reviews keep sellers honest and on their A-game when done well and implemented as part of a strategic marketing plan. Great for SEO ranking too!
Looking to grow and generate more leads for your business? Take a look at the following statistics to better understand the full potential of making and managing reviews for your business or organization.
50 stats that show the importance of online reviews
- 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
- 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews vs. 29% in 2014
- Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business
- 44% say a review must be written within one month to be relevant.This highlights the importance of recency in reviews!
- 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more vs. 72% in 2014
- 43% of consumers search a business by reviews at least one time per month vs. 38% in 2014
- 60% of consumers have searched a business at least six times per year vs. 56% in 2014
- There has been a considerable decrease in those that “never” search for a local business online, down from 22% to 9%, and an increase in those that search for a local business every day, up from 7% to 14%
- 73% have read online reviews on a desktop
- 29% have read reviews on a tablet
- 33% believe all local businesses should have websites designed for mobile vs. 25% in 2013
- 61% are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile optimized site
- 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading one to three reviews, vs. 29% in 2014
- 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews ,vs. 64% in 2014
- 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews vs. 84% in 2014. This means it’s important to have a large body of reviews, as customers are reading more reviews now than in all years past.
- Only 12% are prepared to read more than 10 reviews vs. 16% in 2014
- 26% of consumers say it’s important that a local business responds to its reviews
- Only 14% of consumers would consider using a business with a one or two star rating
- 57% of consumers would use a business with a three star rating
- 94% of consumers would use a business with a four star rating
- 51% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews
- 88% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, vs. 83% in 2014
- 48% will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews
- 23% will visit the business premises directly after reading positive reviews
- 9% of consumers will phone a business after reading positive reviews
- 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores
- Reliability (27%), expertise (21%) and professionalism (18%) remain the most important attributes to consumers
- More consumers are interested in “good value” than before, while less are concerned about the “expertise” of a business
- Word of mouth is still the most popular method of recommendation for consumers despite a 2% drop year over year
- On average, a consumer will look at over 10 information sources before making a purchase
- Over half of young people aged 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews more than the opinions of friends and family
- 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decision
- Consumers who read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to buy than those who read reviews on desktops
- Reviews are especially important for local searches as they influence up to 10% of the ranking
- Only reviews from friends and family are trusted more than online reviews. Reviews from experts and celebrity endorsements are less trusted than online reviews
- 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews
- The three online platforms dedicated to reviews with the most global traffic are: yelp, tripadvisor, foursquare
- 58% of consumers said they have recently (within the past five years) began leaving more and more online reviews based upon customer service
- 100% of customers who make over $150,000 annually claim to leave reviews when it comes to a poor customer service experience
- Reviews of 50 or more, per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates
- 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews
- 105% customers are more likely to purchase while visiting, when site visitors interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact
- Reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales
- 64% of consumers would read online reviews when purchasing technology items
- 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores
- Between one and three bad online reviews would be enough to deter the majority (67%) of shoppers from purchasing a product or service
- 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews
- Number of reviews posted every minute by Yelp users is 26,380
- If a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers returns back to your business
- 38% have read online reviews on mobile internet vs 24% on a mobile app
All stats sourced from