Why Online Customer Reviews are Essential For Growing Your Businesses
According to a recent article in Web Pro News, online reviews for local businesses are growing in popularity among the consumer in the UK, despite media coverage that has questioned how legitimate they are.
The survey, conducted by BrightLocal, indicated that 57% of UK consumers have searched online for a local business at least 6 times in the last year. 15% of the consumers surveyed said that they looked almost every day online for a local business (this figure is up from 7% in 2013). With this in mind, it is clear how much benefit you can reap from having a positive, informative presence online.
Myles Anderson, BrightLocal’s CEO, says: ‘Consumers are becoming more comfortable using the internet to find businesses on both PC and mobile... It’s habit-forming and they start to use it with increasing regularity.’ He puts this increased consumer confidence down to local small businesses improving and optimising their online presence: including accurate data, maps, customer reviews and detailed information about products and services on offer. All of these elements work towards helping the uncertain online browser make an ‘informed decision.’
From those surveyed:
- 88% said they read reviews to ascertain the quality of a business
- 85% said they read up to 10 different reviews of a business or product before making a decision
How Survey Findings Can Inform Your Online Presence
So how do these findings inform how you present customer reviews on your website? While it is not strictly ethical (and in the long run will do your business no favours... think word of mouth, for example...) to omit or delete ‘bad’ reviews altogether, you can at least make sure that the most recent reviews on show (ten at least) are erring towards the positive side. If all ten of the most recent reviews are on the tepid (or even frosty) side, it’s unlikely your potential customers will read further to find the positive ones.
- Only 13% of consumers surveyed said that they would do business with a company that had a 1-star rating, so it’s becoming increasingly important to get those positive customer reviews rolling in
- Only 10% said they are not influenced by online reviews, so ignore any bad reviews at your peril! Addressing them promptly and going out of your way to improve your products or customer service as a result of negative feedback will always be noted by customers
So what about the fear that fake online customer reviews are damaging consumer confidence? According to the survey, a whopping 88% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And the most important trait they’re looking for in a small local business? Good old-fashioned reliability....
Any comments on this article? How do online customer reviews affect your business? Use our comments section to add your thoughts, experiences and tips!