As we often like to discuss on our blog, online reviews play a key role in influencing consumers’ decisions — and there’s ample data to prove it. To build on that data even more and discover how shoppers really feel about online reviews in 2022, our team reached out to more than 1,000 consumers with a survey about their opinions on this subject.
We wanted to make sure that our findings, no matter what they revealed, would be more than just interesting or illuminating — more importantly, we wanted to make sure they would also be actionable. And since businesses can’t control the comments they receive, we decided to focus our survey on a factor that businesses can control: the way they respond to their reviewers.
If you thought that 5-star ratings or positive comments were all that mattered to consumers, get ready to shift your perspective — because as we’ll explore in this week’s post, your responses can affect your bottom line just as much as your reviews themselves. Read on to learn what our survey revealed about consumer attitudes toward businesses that respond to online reviews — and be sure to check back in later this month, when we’ll follow up with deeper dives into the auto, home service, and restaurant industries.
5 Ways Responding to Reviews Drives Business and Attracts Customers
We asked consumers five questions — and in response, they gave us five powerful reasons why your franchise, agency, or brand needs to start responding to all of its reviews. Here’s what we learned about the impact that responding to reviews can have on real-life shopping decisions:
- Businesses that respond to their reviews attract more customers — period. We asked consumers whether they were more likely to shop at a business that has responded to its online reviews. The overall preference was clear: a whopping 80.5% said they were more likely, with only 19.5% saying they weren’t. Another way to look at this stat? You can increase your likelihood of successfully converting four out of five consumers, simply by responding to all of your online reviews.
- Personalization is key to repeat business when responding to consumer reviews. We’ve covered this topic on our blog, and now we’re seeing the reality in action: 77.5% of consumers are more likely to return to a business that replied to their review with a personalized response, versus only 22.5% who aren’t.
- When asked more directly about this topic, consumers showed an overwhelming preference for personalization. To make sure the stat above wasn’t a fluke, we asked consumers a related, even more direct question: Do you prefer that the business responds with a personalized message instead of an automated response? A solid 73.5% of respondents said yes, with only 26.5% disagreeing.
- Responding to negative reviews can help you retain customers. We’ve all heard the statistic that acquiring new customers costs five times more (or higher) than retaining current ones — and according to the employment website Zippia, “The average company loses 10% to 25% of its customers each year.” Our survey found that slightly more than half of consumers (53%) would consider changing their review — and possibly giving the business another chance — if the owner responded to their negative comment or rating with a thoughtful, personalized message.
- By implementing a review reply strategy, you can stand out and gain an edge over local or industry competitors. The overwhelming majority of respondents to our survey — more than 83% — agreed that responding to reviews was a good way for businesses to stand out from their competitors. By comparison, only 16.5% disagreed with this statement.
How Should My Business Respond to Reviews?
We hope that, by sharing what we learned from our survey participants, we’ve helped shed some light on the value and importance of having a review response strategy in place. But in case your business hasn’t developed its review management strategy yet, or you’re new to using platforms like Yelp and Google Business Profiles (GBP), you might be wondering: What should I include in my responses? What should I leave out? And what are the options if my team is too busy to monitor and manage so many reviews?
Fortunately, we’ve compiled tons of helpful tips that are dedicated to helping you craft better, more effective responses that build trust with consumers and win brand loyalty. No matter what issue or area your business needs help tackling, here are five guides to make it easier, including examples of how to write — and how not to write — replies to your customers’ comments on platforms like Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
- How to Respond to a 1-Star Rating
- How to Respond to a 3-Star Rating
- How to Respond to a 5-Star Rating
- How 3 Top Brands Respond to Online Reviews
- Is Your Agency Making One of These Review Response Mistakes?
Of course, as the holiday season gets underway, your team’s calendar is probably looking a little more hectic than usual. So what if you’d like to respond to your customers… but you simply don’t have the time to make it a priority right now?
Book a Demo of Our 24-Hour Custom Review Reply Service for Agencies, Franchises, and Brands
As we’ve stressed throughout this article, it’s important to avoid taking template-based shortcuts. While copying and pasting might be a fast way to respond, it’s also a fast way to lose your brand’s appeal — and a portion of your customers right along with it.
The good news is that providing your reviewers with personalized, on-brand responses is easier — and more cost-efficient — than you think. By supplying your business with a dedicated team of 24-hour response scribes, Shout About Us makes it fast and effortless to ensure that all of your reviewers receive timely, thoughtful responses that are tailored to fit your brand’s values and voice. Whether you operate a franchise, own a multi-location business, or provide digital marketing services, our custom review response service can help your business thrive.
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.