As regular readers may be aware, our blog has been chronicling some of the best and most important review platforms for agencies and brands throughout the summer. First, our response scribes explained how — and more importantly, why — to use and monitor Google My Business (GMB), following up with a sequel discussing the importance of Yelp and Facebook.
To wrap up and close out our three-part series, we’ll be shifting focus to highlight more than 40 industry-specific review platforms, such as Zomato, Thumbtack, and Carwise, that are essential to monitor in 2021. Whether you’re a multi-location business, or an agency that provides review and reputation management services, these websites and mobile apps should be on your radar.
Why is Responding to Customer Reviews Important?
With a few notable exceptions like TripAdvisor — which, according to the company’s press center, “helps 463 million travelers each month” — industry-specific review sites tend to be comparatively small, niche platforms that are not widely used by the general public. That’s because, instead of having a broad focus like GMB or Facebook — the latter of which, of course, also has a social aspect — these types of platforms are dedicated to ratings and reviews of a specific product or service.
For instance, Edmunds.com is specifically intended for reviews of vehicles and car dealerships. While everyone has heard of Facebook, consumers who aren’t actively car-shopping are likely unfamiliar with Edmunds.com.
Due to their narrow scope, industry-specific review sites and apps don’t attract as much traffic as GMB, Yelp, or Facebook. Consequently, many business owners overlook or underutilize these platforms — and in the process, deprive themselves of opportunities to gain (and retain) customers.
Don’t let your team make the same mistake. While industry-focused review sites may not be household names like Google, they still provide invaluable opportunities to grow your business and drive more revenue.
This is particularly true for the fiercely competitive restaurant industry, in which success is highly dependent upon customer reviews — perhaps more than any other industry. In fact, a 2020 survey by BrightLocal revealed that restaurants ranked as the number one industry “in which consumers are most likely to have read reviews.” The restaurant industry was followed by hotels, medical service providers, automotive services, and clothing stores, in that order.
Not only did most consumers (93%) read restaurant reviews; more crucially, they attributed significance to them, with the vast majority (87%) describing reviews as “important” when choosing where to eat or order from. Similarly, 86% of survey respondents described automotive service reviews as “important,” with 81% saying the same of dealership reviews. By comparison, only 66% of survey respondents thought reviews of clothing stores were important to their buying decisions.
Think this doesn’t affect you because you aren’t in the automotive or restaurant business? On the contrary, all types of businesses can benefit from a cohesive and consistent review response strategy, including those outside the aforementioned industries. Here are four ways your brand or agency can benefit from replying to reviews, no matter what industry you’re part of or what type of service you provide:
- Responding to reviews can help you rank higher on Google. Contractors and home service providers might also be interested in our article discussing the importance of SEO to this industry.
- Your responses to existing customers can help persuade undecided consumers to give your business a shot — provided, of course, you respond appropriately (which we offer some tips on here and here). In fact, nearly four out of five consumers — about 79%, according to BrightLocal — “say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.”
- Responding to negative reviews gives you a chance to retain unhappy (yet valuable) customers, which is one of the most cost-efficient ways to help drive growth and increase profitability. For instance, did you know that 5% better retention could boost your profits by as much as 25% to 95%? Or that companies who utilize our review reply service have successfully increased client retention by as much as 43%?
- When responding to positive reviews, you can mention discounts, incentive programs, or promotions you’re currently running, creating a simple and cost-efficient way to advertise. (We do not recommend this strategy when replying to negative reviews, but here are some Harvard-recommended tips and strategies you can follow instead.)
Now that we’ve discussed some of the benefits your business can reap by developing and implementing a review reply strategy, let’s look at some key platforms to watch. We’ll cover the restaurant industry, the automotive services industry, the home services industry, and more.
Top 10 Review Sites and Apps for the Restaurant Industry
Whether you’re a regional restaurant chain, a national fast food franchise, or an agency that provides reputation management services to the restaurant industry, here are 10 restaurant and delivery review platforms you should monitor in 2021.
- The Infatuation
- Zomato (formerly Urbanspoon)
Best 6 Review Platforms for the Automotive Industry
Here are six major review platforms to monitor if you work with dealerships or are in the automotive industry. You can also find a few more response tips for automotive businesses here.
- Repair Pal
7 Most Important Review Platforms for Contractors and the Home Services Industry
If you or your clients are contractors or are in the home services industry, here are seven review sites you should monitor in addition to Yelp, Facebook, and GMB.
- Angie’s List
- Pro Referral
What Other Industry-Specific Review Sites Should My Agency or Brand Be Monitoring?
Not in the restaurant, auto, or home services industry? If you’re in a different business, here are 23 more platforms you might want to consider monitoring.
- Apartments, Rentals, and Real Estate — Apartmentguide.com, Apartments.com, ForRent.com, Hotpads, Renter’s Voice, Zillow
- Education and Schools — BigFuture, College Navigator, CollegeTimes, GreatSchools, StudentsReview
- Hotels, Hospitality, and Travel — Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor
- Medical and Dental — 1800Dentist.com, Caredash, Dentistry.com, Healthgrades, RateMDs, RealPatientRatings, Vitals, Zocdoc
With reviews exerting such a powerful influence on the growth and health of your business, it is crucial to watch — and promptly respond to — all reviews you receive. Whether it’s a 1-star rating accompanied by a furious review, or a 5-star rating with no comments at all, providing a response within 24 hours is the best way to leverage your reviews and capitalize on the benefits we described earlier.
Need Help with Online Reputation Management? Schedule a Demo of Our Review Response Service
If you operate a multi-location business or provide reputation management services, it is imperative to track and respond to online reviews — not only for the sake of maintaining a positive reputation, but also because owner responses impact consumer decisions, Google rankings, client retention, and ultimately, the long-term success of your brand or agency.
Shout About Us makes it easy with our personalized review response service, which enables your team to monitor more than 75 platforms through a single, secure custom dashboard. Create your own responses, or turn to our dedicated team of trained, US-based responders, who will ensure that all of your customers receive a reply within 24 hours. No matter what industry or industries you are part of, our response scribe service and white label review management service can help you accomplish more with less. Book a demo today.
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.