Online Customer Reviews
The importance of testimonials
The number of internet users reading online reviews has risen dramatically in recent years. For example, the Local Consumer Review Survey 2013 of around 2,800 local consumers in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom found that:
- 85% had read online reviews of local businesses.
- 79% trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 67% read 6 reviews or less before making a purchasing decision.
A 2014 Sensis social media survey of approximately 800 Australians found that:
- 67% of respondents reported reading online reviews or blogs before making a purchase decision.
- On average people expected to read 3 reviews before making a decision.
- 30% of respondents had posted reviews or blogs in the last year.
- Men (33%) were more likely to post than women (28%).
- Hotels and motels were by far the most popular topics for review, followed by restaurants, holiday destinations, stores, movies, and mobile apps.
- Each reviewer is likely to post around 9 reviews per year.
As online customer reviews are important and clearly used by potential customers, they are essential to businesses. It really is all about communication and ensuring businesses engage with customers who post reviews – because their opinions may influence so many other people.
Businesses should have a system in place to encourage their customers to post reviews of their services or goods. This can be as simple as asking a satisfied and happy customer to post a review of their experience, to sending an email to all recent customers offering a prize draw for providing a customer review (whether positive or negative).