The results are in from the online consumer annual review report. These are the 4 critical issues to how new customers find your business online,
your #1 source for new customer acquisition.

Online reviews have an incredible power to shape consumer behavior. This will hold especially true in 2018 when more consumers than ever are set to validate their purchase decisions by using social media and real-time feedback from other consumers as their key resources. But how, exactly, are your customers going to use online review sites to find and assess your businesses? What kind of impact do reviews, and ratings have on your customers’ path to purchase?

Here is a summation of what will affect your business for 2018:

  1.  Google is the review site of choice. 63.6 percent of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.
    Google has quickly become the major force in online reviews. In a span of a few short years, it’s leaped over Yelp, acquired Zagat, and shifted its focus from aggregating reviews to hosting its own. That shift has paid off tremendously and affected the entire online review ecosystem. Yelp ranks second at 45.18 percent, followed by TripAdvisor and Facebook.
  2. Consumers expect brands to respond to reviews—and are disappointed. 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. But 63 percent say that a business has never responded to their review.
    More than half of consumers expect a response from a business. That makes sense. The popularity of third-party review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor is driven by customers’ genuine desire to engage with businesses.
  3. Negative reviews drive away customers. 94 percent say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.
    A consumer is 21 percent more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. To maintain an attractive brand reputation, businesses must address customer feedback head on. When the voice of the customer speaks on third-party review sites, be there to listen and respond.
  4. Customers don’t really trust businesses with lower than 4-star ratings. 80 percent of consumers say the star ratings they trust the most are 4.0, 4.5, and 5 stars.

Star ratings do matter. And they matter a lot more in 2018 than they did last year when only 4 in 10 admitted to using rating filters in their searches.
This year, as much as 70 percent say that they use rating filters. The most common filter applied is to see only businesses with 4-star ratings and higher (35 percent), which means that if your business doesn’t have a rating of at least 4 stars, you could potentially be overlooked by your new customers.

Talk Soon,

Michael