Making clients successful is what we strive to do. Getting all the components right, is essential to driving profitable growth for all our clients. One of the key components is reviews.
Having a substantial base of reviews for potential customers to read is vital. We all do it. We check out reviews every time we are considering making a purchase, be it for a new car, a new bike, a new phone, or before we book a holiday, even a restaurant. It has become the norm now and it is becoming as important as the merchant description!
As a specialist agency, we would encourage retailers to take reviews very seriously. Total transparency is now very much part of modern life. People want to seek other’s opinions before making a purchase or booking something. Without reviews or very limited reviews, it may appear that you are sending out the message “we have something to hide”. Which is not good!
- For the fourth year running, a business’s average star rating is the most important review factor
- Consumers require an average 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star rating is accurate (up from 34 in 2017)
- 57% of consumers won’t use a business that has fewer than 4 stars (up from 48% in 2017)
- 61% of over 55’s want businesses to have 4 or more stars (compared to 52% of 18-34-year olds)
- 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34)
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
- 40% of consumers only consider reviews written within the past 2 weeks – up from 18% last year
- 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews
- 30% of consumers highly value businesses’ responses to reviews
- 13% contact a business after reading positive customer reviews
- 33% of consumers spotted lots of fake reviews in 2018 – up from 25%
NB, you can’t stop an upset customer from posting negative feedback online. They will find a way to share their experience online. You also need negative feedback so that you can grow and improve your business, and also to make your review profile more believable. (100+ 5-star reviews?) Really?
Review Gating – be aware!
Review gating is when a customer fills out a survey and if they score highly enough, they are asked to post a review online, but if the customer scores the business too low, they are asked to provide private feedback only. Review gating is not a new policy, but in April 2018 Google reiterated their stance on this practice.
“Don’t discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from customers.”
When Google receives reports of businesses review gating, they delete all of their reviews (not just the ones deemed to violate terms of service). Google also removes your GMB (Google My Business) listing. Not good for your business.