Updated: Aug 15, 2018
The Power of Reviews
Chances are, by the time a consumer is researching a product online, they’re ready to buy. The first searches help them narrow down on a product but what clinches the deal are the reviews left by other consumers. Reviews can be the deciding factor not only for a product, but where a consumer chooses to buy it.
That people are so influenced by online reviews, which are basically a series of opinions from complete strangers, is just one more aspect of the Research Online/Buy Offline economy that businesses of all sizes have to manage.
The review stage is also an important part of the customer experience journey, one that should be handled with attention and care.
What happens after a consumer reads a review? These days, it is not uncommon for them to go straight to the store or make contact by phone or email, bypassing the website entirely!
How many sites or businesses are they comparing?
An average of 3. This is valuable information for any business looking to bring in local clients; optimizing the website to come up first in search results makes it more likely that a consumer will click through to your website, read reviews on your products or services, and visit your store.
Where are people looking?
Facebook and Yelp are the most trusted sites for local searches, with Google and BBB.org following as popular choices. In the remodeling industry, Houzz is becoming a major player.
What are they looking for?
Starred reviews are a trusted source: seeing that four or five-star rating is often enough to inspire confidence in a product or service.
A star rating is becoming increasingly important as people have less time to read full reviews or visit multiple review sites. Consumers are looking for a snapshot of a business' contact info and their star or percentage rating; if people read reviews, they may only look at the most recent ones.
Part of review research also involves checking whether or not a company responds to reviews. If it looks like a business is not managing their local listings and not replying to customer input, it can put potential clients off. They can easily go to the next listing in their search results and patronize a competitor.
Note: It's not enough to have 10 people review your business at 5 stars- consumers want an average of 34 reviews before they trust the star rating.
Consumers are sensitive to another element of reviews: whether or not a company responds to them. If it looks like a business is not managing their local listings and not replying to or resolving customer input, it can put potential clients off. They can easily go to the next listing in their search results and patronize a competitor.
What can you do to get reviews?
Ask! Make it easy for people to leave reviews online and encourage them to do it. Showrooms helping clients with expensive remodel projects should have a system dedicated to collecting and posting online reviews. Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool, but there's no reason not to leverage a happy client's feedback online.