While COVID-related restrictions have loosened, many consumers are tightening their belts. According to a survey from international accounting firm PwC, which included more than 9,100 participants and was conducted in December of 2022, “Fully half of all consumers are either very or extremely concerned about their own personal financial situation,” while nearly 100% of consumers — 96% of those surveyed — said they “intend[ed] to adopt some type of cost-saving behavior over the next six months.”
In this sort of economic climate where consumers are reluctant to spend — especially on unknown brands — businesses need to leverage every resource and opportunity available in order to attract shoppers, build trust, and convert more prospects into paying customers. By engaging with consumers on review platforms, such as Google, Yelp, or Tripadvisor, businesses can significantly increase the number of customers they attract. In fact, shoppers may be “more than twice as likely” to use businesses that respond to all reviews, according to new data from SEO platform BrightLocal.
If your agency, franchise, or brand is looking for cost-efficient, easy-to-implement strategies for increasing revenue and improving customer experience (CX), review management needs to be on your team’s radar in 2023. Read on to learn how responding to reviews impacts shoppers’ buying decisions, along with some review platforms your business should be monitoring — plus, expert tips for optimizing your brand’s review reply strategy.
Survey Finds Consumers “More Than Twice as Likely” to Shop at Businesses that Respond to All Reviews
If you’ve been following our blog this month, you might have seen our recent post highlighting some of the most eye-opening stats from BrightLocal’s latest Local Consumer Review Survey, which is conducted annually. For example, maybe you saw the statistic that 76% of consumers “regularly” check local business reviews, or that 34% prefer to be asked for reviews via email.
Here’s another number that your business should pay attention to: according to BrightLocal, “88% of consumers are likely to use a business if they can see the business owner responds to all reviews, whether positive or negative.” Or, to frame that data another way, “Consumers are more than twice as likely to consider using your business if they can see you actively responding to positive and negative reviews.”
Let that sink in: replying to all of your reviews, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, more than doubles the likelihood that people who are browsing reviews will decide to shop at your business, instead of a competitor’s.
Responding exclusively to negative or positive reviews was also helpful to businesses, but didn’t make nearly the same level of impact as responding to both. Compared to 88% (34% “highly” likely and 54% “fairly” likely), only 60% of consumers were “highly” (10%) or “fairly” (50%) likely to use a business that responded only to negative reviews. Even fewer — only 55% — were “highly” (15%) or “fairly” (40%) likely to use a business that responded to only positive reviews. Not responding to either type was the least effective strategy of all, with only 42% of consumers being “highly” (8%) or “fairly” (34%) likely to use a business that did not reply to any of its reviews.
What Review Platforms Should Your Business Be Monitoring?
There are two categories of review websites:
- General review sites where many types of businesses can be reviewed, such as Google Business Profile or the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Niche or industry-specific sites that are strictly for reviewing certain categories of products or services, such as Zillow (for real estate), Avvo (for legal services), or Cars.com (for vehicles)
It’s important for businesses to actively monitor both types of platforms, paying special attention to the three largest: Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Among these three platforms, Google is arguably the most important, scoring significantly higher marks on trust than Yelp, Facebook, the BBB, or Apple Maps. Additionally, data points to the use of Yelp and Facebook declining while use of Google is on the rise.
Here are 36 of the top review platforms for businesses to monitor in 2023, including review sites for restaurants, automotive services, healthcare services, and other types of businesses.
Strategies for Responding to Positive and Negative Reviews
From attracting more shoppers to your business, to increasing customer retention by up to 124%, to distinguishing your brand from competitors, to helping your business rank higher in local searches, the benefits of a robust review management strategy are immense. For businesses, the question isn’t why responding to reviews matters, but how to optimize their approach to that challenge.
We’ve developed plenty of guides to help you craft quality review responses that follow best practices, including unique situations like dealing with old reviews, fake reviews, or legally sensitive reviews. You can also find tips by star rating, like our strategies for responding to 5-star reviews, 1-star reviews, or those rare but tricky neutral reviews.
But why waste time and money training your in-house team to write custom responses, when Shout About Us provides an easier and more cost-efficient solution? Our 24/7 review response service provides your reviewers with personalized, on-brand replies in 24 hours or less, empowering your team to provide better service and score bigger wins.
Convert More Prospects into Customers with Shout About Us’ Response Scribe Service
One of the most effective ways to attract more customers is responding to your online reviews. But when you’re managing dozens, hundreds, or thousands of locations, finding efficient solutions that scale can be a logistical challenge.
Shout About Us removes the friction from the equation and makes review management a breeze. Our expert response scribes provide your reviewers with personalized responses within 24 hours, while our clean, centralized dashboard enables you to easily manage listings and reviews across more than 125 platforms.
Step up your CX game, take control of your brand’s image, and drive more growth in 2023. Book a demo today to learn more about our review management solutions for agencies, franchises, and brands.
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.