There was a time when the picket fence, post office, corner drug store, and even the town dump were social gathering places where neighbors would catch up on the community events and talk about experiences. Even by word-of-mouth, it didn’t take long for good news to travel across town, and bad news traveled even faster. Many times, the topic of conversation would be about a local business and the power of word-of-mouth could be seen in their success or failure.
Today, eWOM (electronic word-of-mouth), has replaced the picket fence with social media and internet-based rating sites that have dramatically increased the speed and distribution of those words, along with their impact.
A 2017 consumer survey by BrightLocal revealed some interesting statistics about consumer behavior when it comes to customer reviews.
- 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73 percent of consumers trust a local business more
- 49 percent of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
- Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30 percent naming this as key when judging local businesses
- 68 percent of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74 percent having been asked for their feedback
- 79 percent of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but a worrying 84 percent can’t always spot them
- Yelp & Facebook are local consumers’ most trusted review sites, followed by Google & BBB.org
- People are becoming less likely to visit businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews – a 17 percent drop from 2016
- 32 percent of consumers read local reviews on mobile apps this year (a growth of 14 percent from 2016)
- Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – up from 6 last year
As you can see, the percentages are startling, and if you own a business, you should be monitoring what people have to say about your product and service. In addition, you should be responding to poor reviews, not making excuses, but clarifying the actual situation. However, if you or an employee were at fault, own up to the failure and explain the procedures that have been put in place to correct the problem.
As mentioned, Yelp and Facebook have become popular go-to sources for consumer recommendations. With Yelp, which operates as a directory of businesses, it is very easy to monitor what customers are saying about your business. But Facebook is different; your business name can come up on any customer page.
One way to keep tabs on what people are saying about you and your business is to set up a Google Alert. Most people set up many separate alerts for their name, company name, and other keywords related to their business. Then, every time someone posts something with the name or keyword on the internet, an alert is sent to the subscriber with a link to the text. The best part is that Google Alerts are free.
The website Marketing Charts reports that angry customers are more likely to post a bad review more often than satisfied customers will post a good review. In their survey, 95 percent of respondents who have had a bad experience said they told someone about it, compared to 87 percent who shared a good experience.
They also found that bad experiences were more likely to be shared across each of their social circles. Friends or family (in person) were most commonly told, by 81 percent of those with bad experiences and 72 percent with good experiences. Of those dissatisfied persons, 57 percent told their coworkers while only 40 percent told coworkers about a satisfactory experience.
Respondents who suffered a bad interaction were 50 percent more likely to share it on social media than those who had good experiences, and 52 percent more likely to share it on an online review site such as Yelp.
Researchers have determined that spreading the word about bad and good experiences is part of the genetics for human survival. Our ancestors had to constantly be on the lookout for threats to their existence and would pass along the dangers by word-of-mouth. Of course, they also passed along information about things that would help them survive, such as a good food source.
In modern terms, being treated poorly, having a product go bad, or losing money on a deal brings out that survival gene and prompts us to warn others about that business, product, or service more than reporting a satisfactory experience.
How does this affect your business? According to the website Reputation Builder
- 80 percent of people choose to go elsewhere if they read bad reviews of your business online.
- Customers who have a bad experience are twice to three times more likely to write an angry review than customers who had a great experience are to post a happy review.
- One negative review online (when not countered by positive reviews) can cost up to 30 new customers.
- It takes 12 positive reviews to cancel out the nasty side effects of just one negative review.
One of the best ways to enhance your business reputation is by asking loyal customers for reviews. Recently, Linda Bertuzzi, a friend and mortgage lender at Nova Home Loans, decided to enhance her online reputation by asking clients to post comments about her service on the real estate site Zillow.
At Business Finance Corporation, we have a tab on our webpage which we call Success with comments about our service from clients in various industries.
Regardless of what others may say about you or your business on the internet or over the back fence, we at Business Finance Corporation are here to help you with your financing needs. We can help you with your customer service by making sure you have the funds to properly hire and train your staff. Call us at 702-947-3800 or send an email to Davic@bfc.vegas.
Your Partner in Success