The Local Consumer Review Survey 2015 by BrightLocal has reinforced the importance of online business reviews.
It shows that 92% of consumers read online business reviews, with 33% of those doing so on a regular basis. This is particularly true for certain types of businesses such as Restaurants, Cafes, Doctors, Dentists, Clothes Shops, Hotels & B&Bs.
However, the importance of online reputation applies to most types of local businesses as shown in this chart:
One of the interesting findings is the significance of recency. Nearly half of consumers surveyed want to see reviews within the last month and 69% only pay attention to reviews written within the last 3 months.
This proves that businesses need to seek and encourage reviews on a regular basis. In an ideal scenario, businesses should have up to 10 positive online reviews, all written within the last 2-3 months.
The two most important factors that consumers pay attention to is the overall star rating and the quantity of reviews.
So how can you as a business owner influence these? Primarily by ensuring a consistently excellent customer experience and proactively encouraging your customer to share their feedback.
The reason this matters so much is that 68% of those surveyed say positive reviews make them trust a local business more – and over half will be more likely to select a local business if it has positive reviews.