Every year Brightlocal publishes a study of how consumers factor online reviews into their purchasing decisions when selecting a product or service from a local business. Brightlocal asked respondents, 90% of whom reside in the United States and the other 10% of whom reside in Canada, 13 questions about the nature of their interactions with online reviews when making a purchase decision through a local business or service. This year, the results suggest that local consumers are very likely to consult online reviews, and trends suggest that as times go on they will only become more likely to seek out customer reviews online. This is why it’s more important than ever that you maintain some sort of reputation management effort if you own or operate a local business.
Your Reputation Precedes You
Brightlocal reports in their results that 88% of customers look at online reviews to determine the quality of a business before making a purchase decision. That means that your potential customers aren’t only looking on the internet to find out information about your business, but they are legitimately looking to assess the quality of your business through online reviews. Do you know what people are saying about your services online?
If your business has pervasive negative reviews, it’s very possible that you are losing business. Furthermore improving your online reputation is more important now than ever before. Only 12% of customers don’t consult an online review, and that number is down from 29% in 2011. The information in your online reviews will likely reach a majority of your customers.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right
Not only do customers check online reviews, but 89% of customers are checking more than two reviews. In fact, the Brightlocal survey included data on customers checking more than 50 reviews before making a purchase decision. That’s why if you’re a small business, one of the best ways to fix negative reviews online is to make sure that you make sure you have more than a few reviews of your service online, good or bad. Taking steps to make sure that your satisfied customers share their opinions online can do wonders for driving traffic to your business.
Virtual but Credible
88% of respondents also noted that they hold online reviews in the same regard as personal recommendations. That means that a sizeable majority of your customers put as much stock into what they read about your business online as they do from someone recommending it in person. Furthermore, 73% of respondents noted that online reviews impressed them to trust the business they were researching even more than they previously had.
Your customers most likely place serious importance in what they find out about your business online. That’s why it’s important that your online reputation reflect the positive attributes that have made your business what it is today. If you need help managing your online reputation, consider using a service like Matador Solutions to bolster your web presence. Call now to schedule a free consultation.