Reviews, Ratings And Local Search

We’ve seen over the past few days how many consumers are utilizing local search, what information they find important and the devices searchers use. While there are many things that can determine whether a consumer does business with you, reviews are historically one of the most influential. Reviews that come up during local search can be even more important. Consumers are just learning where you are, when you are open and what you specialize in.  A bag review can quickly make a potential shopper move on to the next listing, while a positive review can move you up cement a consumers thought of visiting your business.

• Over the past three years, roughly 60% of consumers thought reviews were very important in making a decision on where they shopped

• Last year, 62% of portal site users said it was most important as did 6 in 10 local searchers

• One in four consumers used reviews when deciding where to make a purchase, which is slightly down from last year

• Nearly 30% of portal site visitors said that they had used a review

• Over the past 2 years, 29% of local searchers took reviews into consideration when choosing where to make a purchase

What Does This Mean To You?

Consumers expect to see reviews of local businesses but may not always use them a deciding factor.  There are things you can do to make reviews more powerful and get more of them.
First off, don’t fake them. Consumers are smart and they can usually tell if a review is real or just the work of an employee.  Encouraging customers who have good things to say about you to make do reviews can be something you should look into.  Posting these reviews on your social media sites, your own website and in your physical location is important as well.
As far as less than flattering reviews, try contacting the person who left it.  Find out if there is something that you can do to regain them as a happy customer.  They tried your business once, hopefully they can be convinced to come back.  When a customer takes the time to leave a bad review, it’s probably not the first time they have brought up the issue.  Odds are they either complained to an employee and that they did not feel it was put to rest at the time. Empower your staff to fix these problems before they escalate to a social problem.  You may not be able to satisfy everyone, but putting forth the effort could result in fewer problems down the line.  For more information on social customer service, please contact:
Al Fiala
amfiala@gmail.com

Source: eMarketer; comScore;15miles

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2 responses to “Reviews, Ratings And Local Search

  1. Great article and I appreciate the series of information you are putting together on social customer service / local search / reviews.

    A stat we like to quote on the importance of this topic that in 2011 a consumer would tell 16 people about a bad experience but in 2012 that number grew to 24 people, similar yoy growth on the sharing of positive experience’s as well. Customers are talking about businesses more then ever before, it’s important for Businesses to get involved.
    Keep up the great writing.

    • Gib – Thanks for reading, the compliment and joining in. People are astounded when I quote numbers like that. It’s even more true with consumers who are active on social networks
      Those who have a good experience will tell 42 people, those who have a bad experience will tell 53 – so the bad has a bigger voice than the good.
      That’s why it’s important for businesses to reward/reinforce the positive. One other thing to remember is that a review from a friend (even it’s an
      online friend who a customer has never met) holds much more cache than anything a business owner might say – so bad reviews make you work twice as hard to
      gain new customers. here’s an earlier post I did on social media and customer service http://wp.me/p387C3-BI
      I would encourage businesses to look for companies like yours and get a handle on their social reputation. Ignoring it, especially for small and emerging business can
      really do a good bit of damage
      Thanks again and keep up the good work
      Al

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