Rising prices and increased online shopping due to COVID have made business reviews more important to consumers than ever. This, in turn, makes business reviews more essential to businesses than ever.
Eighty-three percent of American consumers surveyed by MOZ say they trust online reviews as much or more than they did three years ago. A Yelp survey found that the top categories for which consumers read reviews are
- Household repairs
- Car repairs
- Medical services
- Professional services
Resolve to increase your review count in 2023, and you can expect a better bottom line. Here’s what you should know.
Business Reviews Reflect Trust
Business reviews affect the amount of trust consumers have in businesses. An impressive 86% of consumers say reviews range from “somewhat important” to “the most important” factors in choosing a business.
Google Reviews is the dominant review platform, with 79% of consumers reading Google reviews. The next most popular review platform is Facebook, and the third most popular is Yelp. Most businesses aim to boost the number of Google reviews they get because of its dominance.
When people read reviews, they first look at the star rating. But the star rating isn’t enough for most consumers. They want information in the review content itself.
Consumers who filter reviews are most likely to filter them based on the most recent reviews. The second most popular way to filter reviews is by negative reviews.
It takes the presence of anywhere from 5 to 20 positive reviews before the majority of consumers will try a business for themselves.
When Reviews Cause Loss of Trust
According to the Yelp survey, business reviews that appear fake trigger significant distrust. Furthermore, the survey found that people want more than a star rating. Yelp requires star ratings on its site to have accompanying text.
The Moz survey found that half of consumers lose trust if they believe the business owner is reviewing their own business. Nearly half lose trust due to a low star rating.
Surprisingly, the survey found that 44% of consumers were skeptical when a business had only five-star reviews, with no complaints. While five-star reviews are generally good, if every review has five stars, it comes across as too good to be true and turns off consumers.
The bottom line is that consumers lose trust when they sense inauthenticity surrounding business reviews.
People’s Actions After Reading Reviews
After reading reviews, consumers typically visit business websites. They are also likely to visit a business’ social media, physically visit it, or call it.
While you, as a business owner, can’t control what people write in their business reviews, you have tremendous control over people’s impressions once they leave the review site to visit your website, call you, or look at your social media.
When your website, social media, and customer service people work together to demonstrate trustworthiness, you can reinforce the excellent impression people form from reading your reviews.
Why People Don’t Write Reviews
Maybe you want reviews, but people don’t write them. The Moz survey found that 38% of consumers don’t leave reviews because they forget to. Thirty percent say they don’t leave reviews because the process is confusing or complicated.
Only 14% of people claimed never to leave reviews. There isn’t much you can do about them.
But here’s the kicker: 20% don’t leave reviews because nobody asked them to! The lesson here is that if you want business reviews, you must ask for them.
Best Ways to Ask for Business Reviews
The top ways that people would like to be asked for reviews are in person (the “gold standard” for getting reviews), by email, via text/SMS, and on receipts or invoices. Training your point of sale personnel to ask for a review at the conclusion of each transaction is a simple and effective way to get more reviews.
If you send customer emails asking for reviews, include a link directly to the review form. This can overcome people’s reluctance if they find the review process complicated or confusing.
Including a link in a text message or a QR code on a receipt that takes the user directly to the review form is another way to make it easier for customers to leave business reviews.
Addressing Negative Reviews Is Essential
Businesses don’t always like asking for reviews because they have no control over what other people will say. However, the Moz survey found that 63% of reviewers write reviews to show their appreciation of a business! Only 38% said they left reviews to complain or tell a business how to improve.
When you get negative reviews, you should respond to them as soon as possible. That’s because 62% of negative reviewers are willing to give businesses a second chance if they take responsibility and address the problem. Moreover, 90% of consumers say they are influenced by businesses that take responsibility for fixing problems people raise in reviews.
Responses to negative reviews should be individualized. But in general, they should apologize, take ownership of the problem, and ask for further information if it’s necessary to understand the problem.
Always Behave Ethically with Reviews
With Google, you can’t have a review removed unless it violates the website’s terms and conditions. And negative reviews alone don’t violate the terms and conditions.
Your best bet is to respond promptly and professionally to the negative review and offer to address the problem. Sometimes, this will cause a reviewer to take down a negative review (though you are not allowed to ask them to do this).
Also, be aware that you cannot incentivize leaving Google reviews. You can ask people to leave a review, but you cannot promise them anything in return for doing so.
Business Reviews Make Up a Valuable Asset
Consumers rely on business reviews more than they ever have. Few people have the resources to try a business without finding out more about it first.
And people find business reviews more valuable than brand statements because, naturally, statements issued by a brand will be positive. Reviews are as close as many people get to actual word-of-mouth recommendations.
The more reviews your business receives, the more valuable they become. A large number of reviews means that one negative review isn’t going to tank your overall rating. And consumers are savvy enough to know that no business will have only five-star reviews.
Getting more reviews requires asking for more reviews. Asking for reviews through multiple channels (email, asking directly, SMS, etc.) is more effective than relying on one channel. Replying to reviews shows you care about customer experience and take your customers seriously.
A collection of hundreds or even thousands of business reviews is hard to put a price tag on. But there is no question that such a collection is valuable.
Encourage your customers to write reviews, even though you can’t tell them what to say. You’ll be doing your entire customer base a favor by providing valuable information they can use to make their purchase decisions.
Reviews Should Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy
Exchange Media Group works with client companies across numerous industries to develop the most effective and cost-efficient digital marketing strategies. Our goal is to make our clients’ marketing dollars work their hardest.
If you need help developing a review strategy, using social media, buying search ads, or even using print ads, set up a call with our team. We are never happier than when we watch our clients succeed.