Online reviews are everywhere. They have become a major part of our online culture, and one of, if not THE most important factor people consider when choosing to do business with a brand. 

The 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey from BrightLocal states that “84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.” Over the past few years, there has been an increasing number of online review sites and social media sites. Sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, Trip Advisor, and many others have become authority mega-giants and frequently dominate the first page of the search engine listings especially in Google.

Another trusted online authority is Podium. Their State of Online Reviews revealed some very important stats and insights. I will summarize some of them here.

“93% of consumers say online reviews impact purchase decisions.” 

This underscores the importance of having a steady supply of good reviews, especially recent ones. Reviews, in general, have a relatively short shelf life. In fact, based on the numerous studies we have analyzed, most consumers do not consider a good review to be very relevant if it is more than 6 months old. 

Let’s face it, a lot can happen in six months. That former stellar employee no longer works there, the company has changed owners or management, prices have increased, popular services have been dropped or changed, and much more. Consumers are aware of these scenarios and you should also consider their importance.

“3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business that consumers would engage with.”

Although that number may be the result of their survey, I personally try to avoid businesses that do not have a minimum star rating of at least 4.0 stars. I sometimes make exceptions if they excel in other areas, have very competitive pricing, or it just makes sense logistically.

“63% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for a better experience.”

This statistic indicates that many consumers are not only concerned with the price but also value good customer experience. They are willing to pay a higher price to possibly avoid shoddy service, inferior products, and so on. I can attest to this myself.

“77% of consumers would be willing to leave an online review if asked.”

It’s always a great feeling to receive an unsolicited five-star review. Aside from the obvious accolades for your good service, your customer was inspired and motivated enough to become an advocate for your business and share their experience online without you having to ask. However, I would like to point out that someone reading that review online would have no idea if it was unsolicited or not, so that’s not an important factor other than the feeling of satisfaction most business owners get.

One cannot only count on unsolicited reviews to provide enough good reviews to stay competitive. As the statistic indicates, roughly 3 out of 4 consumers would indeed be willing to leave a review online if they were asked. The problem is most small business owners are too busy running their business and may forget to do this or do not realize its importance. 

There are numerous online platforms and programs available to streamline and automate the process of asking for reviews. However, it’s also easy and quite effective to implement some in-house strategies to get more reviews. These could include things like including a mention of review sites like Facebook and Google in your email signature line, sending out an email or postcard thanking your customer for their business and asking for a review, and definitely have that option prominently displayed on your website and Facebook business page.

Remember, getting reviews is an ongoing process and an integral part of your marketing program in 2020. The value and impact cannot be understated and must be accepted as part of doing business online you wish to remain competitive and sustainable. 

If you do not have the time or desire to perform all these reputation related tasks yourself, please give us a call so we can learn more about your business and recommend our proven strategies.

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