Nowadays almost every search for goods and services on the local market is accompanied by review searching. Whether you want to buy a new smartphone, visit a restaurant or choose a bank branch, the studying of reviews is an obligatory step in the user’s “way” to purchase.
For businesses that sell products, some negative reviews may not affect brand reputation or keep customers from purchasing. But for service-based companies, reviews are crucial, as they impact customers’ loyalty and profitability in general.
To date, the overwhelming majority of users regularly refer to reviews (70–90% depending on the industry) before buying which mostly happens offline. Over the past five years, there have been dozens of surveys that prove the influence of online reviews.
The facts below are compelling in this regard:
- The power of positive reviews generates new customers.
- 91% of 18–34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Nearly half of in-store purchases start with online customer reviews.
Thus, we can safely say that if a company doesn’t work with reviews (i.e. does not monitor or respond to them) it loses loyal customers making sales and revenue fall.
Moreover, online review “signals” is the third most important local search ranking factor.
So, working with reviews allows a company to get on to the Local Pack. This means that reviews can help the company get into the top three, affect the competitiveness and give an absolute advantage in attracting leads.
Some statistics that correlate with these data were provided by Google: 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day, and 28% of users result in a purchase.
Based on this, being at the top is a highly significant factor in gaining foot traffic.
Reviews are not only important for local page rankings. They also provide customers with a conception of how reliable a business is.
Today, feedback from company representatives is a real indicator about whether a business is customer-oriented or not. If it does not work with reviews, which can often replace surveys on the quality of goods and services, it loses important information and insights that consumer experiences can bring.
Of course, when it comes to organizations with hundreds of branches, it is rather difficult to monitor and process reviews from many sources manually. Professional services (like RocketData.io) are called upon to help: responding to reviews is possible from a single interface, thus there is no need to log in to numerous sites.
In effect, a personal account becomes a single center for managing the brand’s reputation, combining listings from all locations and reviews related to a particular branch.
Summarizing the above, if a company doesn’t work with reviews it loses:
- profit, causing customers to turn to competitors;
- leads, because reviews account for 15% of how Google ranks a business. So, listings with no reviews receive fewer interactions (clicking a call button, routes paved, etc.);
- an opportunity to influence the star rating (on the contrary, by responding to reviews, you build up a dialogue with a client — this encourages customers to leave comments, rate a business, etc.);
- insights from consumers that can help solve problems related to the quality of goods and services with minimal costs.
Before you optimize your work with reviews, be sure to check whether all of your listings claimed on the maps and other relevant sources, and the company’s data have no mistakes and missing information.