Online reviews have become a force to reckon with. Businesses where online reviews matter should take note of the following trends that were seen in recent years.
Get ready for an informative roller coaster ride!
1. Majority of the customers expect businesses to respond to online reviews
In recent years, third-party review sites like Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and the like have become a review destination. Customers are now engaging with companies through online reviews. These sites have provided a voice to customers to state their opinions and experiences regarding a product or a service.
In this digital age, customers want to be heard. If they face a problem, they expect a faster response to their reviews. Jay Baer in collaboration with Edison Research found that 53% of the customers expected a business to respond.
Another revelation worth discussing is that businesses which responded to customers witnessed a 16% increase in customer advocacy while companies that didn’t, saw a 37% decline.
Whenever customers hear back from businesses, they immediately get into the good books of the customer.
Reviews help build a positive perception about a brand. Users who are researching a business are more likely to buy from one that responds to reviews, be it negative or positive.
Businesses which enjoy a higher ranking on third-party sites do so because of being responsive to reviews. This is a simple trick in the book that most companies tend to ignore.
2. More than 6 out of 10 customers trust Google reviews
Google is an emperor to the internet. This is why Google reviews have more credibility. The higher the Google reviews, the higher will your page rank. Companies that have high-quality reviews rank in the ‘snack-pack’ results.
“Snack-pack results? Ain’t heard of it before”
The first three results that appear in the first page of the Google which has a star rating are called Snack-pack results.
If you have a laidback attitude towards Google reviews, it will affect your conversion rates. In 2018, Google reviews account for 9.8% of the SEO ranking factors.
So, make sure your Google My Business listing is updated.
3. Negative Reviews are a turnoff for customers
Really? Yup, 85% of the customers allocate the same level of confidence as they would to personal recommendations.
When this the case, wouldn’t a negative review project a not so good opinion? All the more, negative reviews damage your brand credibility. This is detrimental to your brand reputation.
Furthermore, negative reviews paint a ghastly picture when it comes to the impact of negative reviews on sales.
According to Moz,
- One negative review results in a 22% decrease in potential customers
- The percentage of lost customers goes up to 59% when there are three negative reviews
- To make matters worse, negative reviews which show up first in the Google search results drive away 70% of the potential customers
4. Star ratings are still important
Star ratings are the best social proof that makes customers trust a business. After all, star ratings are gained for delivering a good service.
Businesses with star ratings show up first. Be it Google or TripAdvisor, ratings are still in vogue.
In a BrightLocal 2017 survey, 58% of the people opined that they gave importance to the average star rating compared to 54% in 2016.
5. Reviews are gaining prominence in the financial services and insurance sectors
While reviews are important irrespective of the industry, lately the insurance and the financial services sector have seen an influx in terms of reviews.
This is definitely a good news for firms in this space because things weren’t good earlier. In an Edelman 2012 study, it was found that banking and the financial services industry (FSI) was the least trusted by customers.
Online Reviews Sub Trends
1. Google and Facebook are becoming review hubs
Google and Facebook have recently seen an influx of reviews. While Google is the internet giant and by far the most used search engine, Google’s growth as a review site can be attributed to the following-
- Google’s reach and its visibility are far because of its primary use as a search engine. Users can easily read reviews without having to log in.
- Since Google has established itself as a giant, it has the privilege of native integration to Android devices. This easily brings Google My Business reviews to all smartphone users.
- Whenever people end up visiting a particular store or any sort of commercial establishment, it sends notifications to users asking to review their experience.
Keep in mind, that if even your phone’s location is close to a particular place, it sends notifications such as the one below.
Also, it is a widely known fact that Google reviews tinker SEO and there is no better social proof as it reflects your online reputation.
Facebook, on the other hand, is the most used social media site. Facebook like Google is uncomplicated and hence easy to leave reviews.
Here is a stat that might want to know-
In fact, reviews have replaced recommendations on Facebook. By this, we mean to say that Facebook has introduced a feature called ‘Recommendations’.
Combating fake reviews is a problem many businesses grapple with. With recommendations, it is possible to report comments if it comes under the purview of any one of the following violations.
- Hate speech
- Suicide or Self-injury
- Unfair Recommendation
- Recommendation not relevant
Reasons for the changing online review trends
1. The world is hooked to mobile
Ever since smartphones made life on the go easier, people are hooked to their phones. As a result, posting a Google or Facebook review doesn’t take much effort.
It is for this reason, even firms are making their websites mobile responsive.
In a recent study by Smart Insights, it was found that mobile users consume twice in comparison to desktop users.
2. Writing a review is simpler now
Google and other review sites catering to different niches have made the review process easier. Review sites these days are navigationally sound and hence the user isn't driven away which was the case earlier.
3. Brands are beginning to realize the importance of online reviews
Since customers have become tech-savvy, even companies are following suit. Many hotels, restaurant chains and other multi-chain corporations are using online reputation software.
With customers becoming more aware, reviews are becoming a norm these days.
Online reviews are evolving. With customers becoming tech progressive, reviews are something that companies can’t ignore. Your online reputation is solely based on user ratings and reviews.
Combating negative reviews, red flagging fake reviews and knowing what customers talk about you should be on your checklist. The following listed trends should be kept in mind before you devise any strategy.
In short, online reviews are one of the indicators of customer experience. If you want to tackle the bull by the horns, a CEM solution comes in handy.