Think responding to reviews isn’t important to your (or your client’s) business? New survey data from the marketing platform BrightLocal will challenge you to rethink your position.
As we’ll explore throughout this week’s post, the data reveals that responding to your reviews can help sway consumer attitudes toward a more positive perception of your brand. That can lead to significantly increased business, more brand growth, and a better bottom line. For example, did you know that close to six out of 10 consumers — about 57% of the survey respondents — say they are “‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews”?
That’s just one of the statistics we’ll analyze, along with data about consumer attitudes toward old versus recent reviews; the shifting importance of various review platforms; and, of course, the way ratings (and responses) influence consumers’ shopping habits. Keep reading to learn more about the findings — and what they might suggest for your agency.
8 Stats That Show the Power of Responding to Online Reviews
Each year, BrightLocal publishes a detailed survey about consumer attitudes toward online reviews and owner responses. The most recent report, which was conducted in November and published last month, surveyed “a representative sample of 1,124 US-based consumers” from varying age groups.
While the specific topics covered vary slightly from edition to edition — for example, the previous version asked consumers how quickly they expected owner responses (20% said “within 24 hours”), a question omitted from the latest version — each provides actionable insights for digital agencies and the businesses they serve. Here are some of what we consider to be the most significant findings from the 2022 edition: eight revealing stats that highlight exactly why it’s important (and beneficial) to respond to online reviews.
- 57% of the respondents said they were either “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to shop with a business that never replied to its reviews, as we recently wrote about here.
- On a brighter note, 89% of consumers — almost nine in 10 — said they were either “fairly likely” or “highly likely” to shop with a business that always replied.
- A low (and almost equal) amount of consumers were “highly likely” to use businesses that exclusively replied to negative reviews (9%) or positive reviews (10%).
- While review recency is still an important factor in deciding consumer attitudes, the data indicates that old reviews are gaining more traction with consumers. In the previous survey, 50% of consumers said they only cared about reviews from the past 14 days, whereas in the latest version, that number plunged to just 22% — the lowest it’s been during the previous four years. (This was attributed to COVID-19 causing a shift in consumer expectations, which may mean the trend is only a temporary deviation.)
- Google, Yelp, and Facebook continue to dominate other review platforms, though Facebook lost users (54% to 48%) while Yelp (32% to 53%) and Google (63% to 81%) both gained influence. In third through sixth place, Tripadvisor, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and Apple Maps were the next most popular review sites.
- Consumers place more importance on reviews of healthcare and home service providers than on most other types of businesses or industries. If you work with clients in either of these industries, responding to reviews of their businesses is imperative.
- Consumers are most likely to leave a positive review if they know the business is family-owned (with 33% “highly likely”); if they had a poor initial experience that was effectively resolved by the business (37%); or if “the business went above and beyond to ensure [they] had an exceptional experience” (61%).
- The top three review factors that consumers care most about are that the review “describes a positive experience” (75%); the star rating is high (58%); and, critically for agencies to be aware of, “the business owner has responded to every review” (55%).
We encourage you to check out the full survey (linked above), which goes into additional detail about these and other statistics.
How Does Implementing a Review Response Strategy Benefit Your Agency and Clients?
So what does this data from BrightLocal tell us, and how can your agency act on it? The key takeaway is that responding to reviews increases the likelihood that consumers will use a business — plain and simple. If you want to convert and acquire more customers, you need to start replying to all of your positive and negative reviews (yes, even those old ones that have been sitting around for months).
Not only does responding to reviews help you to build trust and gain new customers — it can also help reinforce brand loyalty among your existing customers, boosting retention and helping to limit the losses associated with customer churn. Additionally, responding to reviews also provides you with easy (and ample) opportunities to promote your brand or specific programs/initiatives, such as customer referral programs, discounts and deals, or new on-site amenities and features.
In a crowded, competitive industry, taking the time to respond to reviews is a cost-efficient way to help your business or client’s business stand out as a trustworthy, transparent, and engaged brand that consumers can depend on to provide top-notch customer service. After all, data shows that “90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company,” according to HubSpot and Microsoft. These sources also report that, on the other hand, “58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service.”
If you aren’t providing your reviewers with timely and courteous owner responses, you’re wasting high-value, low-cost opportunities to deliver great customer service. Worse, by ignoring customer feedback, you’re potentially giving reviewers reasons to leave your brand for a company that will be more attentive.
Remember, 57% of consumers are either “not very likely” or worse, “not at all likely” to shop with businesses that never reply to their ratings or reviews. Responding to reviews isn’t merely a way to provide improved service, create brand evangelists, or spread the word about deals and promotions — it’s a mandatory strategy for driving the growth of your brand.
Not sure what to write (or avoid) in your responses? Here are a few tips and strategies to help you get started:
- 4 Online Review Management Mistakes Your Agency Needs to Avoid
- Still Using Review Response Templates? Here’s Why it’s Time to Start Personalizing Your Replies
- Is Your Agency Following These 3 Harvard-Recommended Strategies to Respond to Negative Reviews?
- How to Respond to a 5-Star Rating or Review
- How to Respond to a 1-Star Rating or Review
Schedule a Demo of Our Review Reply Service for Digital Marketing Agencies
We’ve covered a few of the reasons why review responses are critical. The problem? You’re so busy with other projects, you don’t have enough time or a large enough staff to provide your clients with a review response service.
That’s where Shout About Us can help. Our trained, experienced team of dedicated review responders ensures that all of your clients’ reviews receive on-brand, personalized replies within 24 hours, including Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, Google reviews, and more than 75 other platforms. Your team has the option to review, edit, and request revisions, or take a more hands-off approach for a truly effortless solution.
By leveraging our review reply service, our clients in a wide range of industries have scored victories like:
- – $143,000 of new revenue generated in the first six months
- – 96 hours of in-house work saved in the first 30 days
- – Client retention increased by 43%
- – Average client rating increase from 3.9/5 stars to 4.6/5 stars
How could your digital marketing agency benefit?
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with more than seven years of writing experience. She joined the Shout About Us team as a content strategist in 2020.