Who Trusts Your Business?

Star ratings for online reviewsI’ve just been reviewing the latest research on how people use reviews online. And it’s an eye-opener.

Faster now than ever, consumers are quickly deciding if they trust a business.

The respected 2015 Local Consumer Review Study from BrightLocal shows that 88% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before they form an opinion.

And the number saying they only need to read 1 – 3 reviews before they can trust a local business has jumped 11% from last year, to 40% of respondents.

Let’s just review those figures . . .

The conclusion is that your prospects don’t need to read many reviews before developing a clear opinion about your business. Almost 9 out of 10 are satisfied after reading just 10 positive reviews.

PEOPLE TRUST THE STAR RATING

Actually, the star rating is the biggest factor to which consumers pay attention.

The research shows that while 94% of people will happily use a business with a 4-star rating, only 57% will deal with a 3-star business. Worse, just 14% of consumers say they will try a business with only 1 or 2 stars. (This means a business with 4 stars will get nearly 7x more customers than a business with two stars!)

The next most important factor is the quantity of reviews is and we learned above that if a local business has up to 10 reviews then 88% of readers won’t look any further!

THEY DON’T TRUST OLD REVIEWS

But there’s a catch: the study shows that up to 84% of consumers don’t consider a review to be relevant if it’s older than 6 months.

Why does this matter? Well, if you’re like me then the most recent reviews are the ones you read first, of course. If those reviews are negative then few people will look beyond these to find better ones that may lie further down on the page.

Therefore it’s important to monitor reviews regularly and to ‘manage out’ bad reviews and focus on generating regular, positive reviews.

CUSTOMERS RESPOND TO REVIEWS

There was a new question for the 2015 survey: “When you read positive reviews for a business, what is the typical next step you take?”

By far the most common ‘next step’ for consumers reading reviews is to visit the business website (48%). That’s no surprise, after all they’re already online and most review sites will have a link to the business website.

However, this means it’s now absolutely essential to make sure you optimize your website to make sure you capture every possible lead. (We can talk about how I can help you do that, with Conversion Gold.)

And the other thing you should do is review your reputation management system, to make sure you keep fresh, positive reviews coming in from your customers, clients, or patients. Remember, they need to be less than 6 months old if they’re going to be trusted.


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