It’s no secret that online customer reviews are vital to a business’s success, says Third Coast Interactive Steven Wyer. With more than 90% of consumers relying on customer feedback before making a purchasing decision, reviews are more powerful than ever. To the delight of mobile searchers everywhere, Google recently added a reviews tab to a business’ local search results.
Q: When did Google make the decision to add a toggle tab for reviews?
Steven Wyer: Google made the decision many months ago. Testing began in May 2017 with the official rollout happening in June.
Q: Why is this change import for businesses?
Steven Wyer: Previous search results showed a star rating but offered no context as far as customer feedback. Now, Google users can read reviews from fellow searchers directly from a business listing. Positive reviews makes a business look more desirable and having easy access makes the business convenient.
Q: Do reviews really influence customer opinion?
Steven Wyer: Absolutely. A number of recent studies found that nearly half of all consumers forge an opinion after reading three or fewer reviews.
Q: Which are more powerful, positive or negative reviews?
Steven Wyer: I think that depends upon the results. If you’re looking for ice cream, for example, and you have to similar search results but one shop has all positive and one has all negatives, you’re likely to choose the place with the most positive reviews.
Q: Do the number of reviews matter?
Steven Wyer: User generated content, which often comes in the form of an online review, is rapidly gaining speed to become the most influential factor in online shopping. Businesses with 10 or more positive reviews are typically seen more favorably than equally rated companies with just a few posted reviews.
Q: How many people perform search queries on a mobile device?
Steven Wyer: More than half of all searches are done from phone or tablet these days. That number is expected to climb as mobile technology becomes more reliable and less expensive.
Q: As a business owner, should I respond to reviews?
Steven Wyer: Absolutely but always in a positive and appreciative tone – even if the review is less-than flattering.
Q: Do star ratings really matter?
Steven Wyer: More than you might think! Approximately 14% of consumers would consider using a two star business while 94% would happily patronize a business with a four star rating.
Q: How likely is a consumer to visit a business’s website based on positive reviews found on the Google listing?
Steven Wyer: The click-through conversion rate is somewhere around 50%; 23% will physically visit the business after reading multiple positive reviews.
Q: What are the most popular online review platforms?
Steven Wyer: Yelp, TripAdvisor, the Better Business Bureau and FourSquare.
Q: What percentage of customers will leave a review based on a negative experience?
Steven Wyer: That really varies by demographic. Those with salaries of more than $150,000 nearly unanimously claim they would leave a negative review based on a poor customer service experience.