Impact Group Marketing Blog

“Survey: 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.” Wow! Word of mouth has always been a key to success in business. Today the medium to do that has become online reviews. According to a survey from Dimensional Research (an independent market research company specializing in technology), based on over 1,000 responses from persons in the US, 90% of consumers who had read online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced a decision to buy with almost that many (86%) saying that negative reviews had also influenced buying decisions.

Clearly, for small businesses, online reviews play an important role in not only providing feedback to potential clients or customers but also in influencing how your business is found in the online environment. More than ever before, consumers want to know how others view your business before they decide to make a purchase or sign up for a service. If you’re a small business owner, one of the most valuable things you can receive from your best customers is their positive reviews and recommendations.

Here are a few interesting stats about how customer service stories are shared (based on the results of the above-mentioned survey):

  • 95% share bad experiences and 87% share good experiences with others – through any means.
  • 54% share bad experiences with more than five people and 33% shared good experiences with more than five people.
  • 45% share bad customer service experience and 30% share good experience via social media.
  • 35% share bad experience via online review sites and 23% share good experiences.
  • B2B, Gen X, and high-income households are the most likely to share customer service stories.

Things to know about online reviews:

  • 68% of millennials trust online reviews, compared with 34% who trust television advertising.
  • Consumer reviews are “trusted” nearly twelve times more than manufacturer’s descriptions.
  • Approximately one-fifth of customers say they won’t purchase a product or service based on just one negative review; after three negative reviews it jumps to 59%.
  • Not all reviews are equal. Clearly, positive reviews are a good thing and negative reviews aren’t a good thing but having no reviews at all can also have a negative impact on business potential.
  • Having no reviews on your website can send the message that you’re new and a potential customer might not want to “test the water”.
  • Just a few positive comments or reviews can reassure new customers that you’re worth trying. Remember: 90% of consumers who had read online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced a decision to buy.
  • If you do receive negative reviews, the best response is to address them immediately and fix the problem. Studies suggest that when businesses replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, a third of those customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive review.
  • Every additional “star” your business gets translates to a 5-9% increase in business or sales.
  • Businesses that maintain active Facebook and Twitter accounts are more likely to have positive ratings of 3 or 4 “stars.”

How to encourage customer reviews:

  • Send out follow-up emails. A week or two after a customer has purchased a product or used a service, ask them to write a review. Airlines do this every time you fly!
  • Make submitting a review super easy.
  • Provide an incentive such as coupon, special discount code, or sneak preview about a new product.

If all this seems a bit overwhelming and you’re not sure where to start, contact us! Impact Group’s reputation management service monitors our clients' digital reputation. Reputation Management generates authentic, first-party reviews directly from your customers, which can help you stand out in today's new search experiences. We also monitor and respond to reviews across 100+ digital listing websites, uncovering new opportunities to improve your operations and win more business.