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3 Things you should know about the state of reviews

Monday, March 19, 2018
3 Things You Should Know about the State of Reviews

Our partners have a lot of questions about reviews.

Usually, we answer them flawlessly. But sometimes we get questions that we, the kings, queens, and jesters of consumer feedback, don’t know the answers to.

Questions like:

“Does a good review really make a difference to a customer?”

“How many reviews do people read before they buy something?”

“Why does it seem like only angry customers leave reviews?”

“Why don’t my kids listen to a single thing I say?”

Although we knew we wouldn’t be able to answer all questions (re: parenting struggles), we knew it was important to conduct a study on the state of reviews.

1100 consumers, evenly divided between male and female, who live in households with an income of less than $100,000, completed our questionnaire on SurveyMonkey.

We discovered a ton of information – available in our full report, accessible here.

The three topics we thought were most important – the things you NEED to know ASAP– we covered.

Reviews are more relevant for certain industries

The importance of reviews differs, depending on the industry. About half of the customers we surveyed said reviews were “very important” when researching software, and cars. If a person can’t find a good selection of reviews about the B2B software or car they’re interested in, they’re unlikely to convert.

The review below provides a rich picture of a customer’s experience with a company – relaying all the information a prospective consumer would be interested in.

Research also suggests that as healthcare and finance companies continue to rapidly grow their online presence and invest in digital advertising, online reviews will likely play a larger role for both consumers and businesses in these industries.

Action Points

  • Search reviews of your business and your competitors to determine if your industry consumers are searching for reviews.
  • Subscribe to any messaging boards devoted to reviews for your industry to keep tabs on what customers are saying about you and your competition.
  • Check out the feedback your company has online – if there’s none to be found, or if it’s primarily poor feedback, pursue a review solution.

Customers scan reviews for particular keywords

We discovered that customers do not read reviews willy-nilly (without care) – when people read reviews, they are scanning for specific keywords and phrases to make or break a sale.

Consumers want to be reassured that a company has a high overall rating, that customers have found the business’ products to be good quality, and that their customer service team is exceptional. People will also check reviews to see if delivery was prompt.

It makes sense. Consumers trust a fellow shopper will share if they bought a cardigan that fell apart in the wash, but can’t trust a business to share that kind of information about their products. If someone orders something for Christmas, they want to be confident it will arrive on time.

Customers will also search reviews to ensure that companies are responding. When a business responds to its customer reviews, consumers know that the company is listening, and hopefully incorporating the feedback to maintain customer satisfaction and continually improve their business.

Action Points

  • Make sure to regularly respond to your customer reviews – it’s a reflection on your customer service team, and will entice prospective customers.
  • When looking over your reviews, if you are consistently seeing negative feedback regarding your Customer Service team, speed of delivery, or the quality of your products – you need to make changes internally to improve the customer experience, or risk losing customers.

Customers are strongly motivated by an invitation to review

If you’re wondering where all of these poor online reviews about your business are coming from – when the majority of your customers are typically satisfied with your service – you might be partly to blame.

If a company asks their customers to review them, consumers are more likely to write a review – than to find a forum independently. Unhappy customers, however, don’t need the prompt.

As the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” A dissatisfied user can make a deafening amount of noise by going online with their complaints, while satisfied customers will typically keep quiet if their feedback isn’t requested.

Once you ask for reviews, the number of consumers “very likely” to write a review is 29% (as opposed to 14% without invite).

Invite all your customers to leave a review, so future prospects can read about a multitude of customers experiences with your company, instead of the noise from one squeaky wheel.

Action Points

  • Invite all customers to leave you a review – so the feedback online is an accurate representation of your business.

To read our full survey, click here.

sirkin research

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