All statistics are taken from Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2022.
The Importance of Business Reviews – How important are business reviews? It’s something that, as a business owner, you’re always proud to see a positive one of, but it can be awkward asking someone to review your business. Sometimes it’s something that is left to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list and never done. Something that doesn’t have a big short term impact, but long term they can be the difference between success and failure.
So why bother with asking for reviews? Did you know in 2022 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses that’s up from 87% in 2020. As more people have had to rely on the internet over the last couple of years, it means they’re more likely to read your previous reviews and see if your business is worth their time. Following a survey by Bright Local, it was discovered that 97% of consumers would consider using a business with an average star rating of three or stars. This shows how high the stakes are and how important it is to encourage customers to write their honest opinion to boost your ratings.
When many people think of reviews, the majority think of Google My Business. Users can review any type of business, regardless of if it offers services, products or information. And while most people do go to Google My Business first, users typically trust the Better Business Bureau (BBB) more, because it’s more difficult to manipulate the reviews. Although BBB isn’t used for local rankings, it first confirms a marketplace interaction occurred between the reviewer and the business, before allowing the user to post a review.
Covid made a huge impact on businesses in 2020 and continues to now, with England spending the first 3 months in lockdown. 77% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2021. This is an increase from 81% in 2019. Although there was an increase in reading reviews, Google halted the ability to write reviews between March – May 2020, due to the fact that the majority of businesses were closed, and so it stopped fake reviews being posted. Bright Local found that 37% searched for fewer local businesses online due to the pandemic, which is to be expected in areas where many businesses had to close and there was no way of supporting local businesses.
Covid has resulted in a lot of changes worldwide, but for businesses, it found that if a review said a business didn’t have sufficient Covid precautions, then potential customers would be less likely to visit the business’ premises. This shows the importance of having up to date reviews and ensuring you read your reviews and act on the comments, in order to ensure you don’t get burdened down with multiple negative reviews.
Covid also saw an increase in support for small, local businesses. It was found that 22% of those who responded to the survey said they wrote customer reviews to support struggling local businesses. As more and more people are online, the importance of business reviews is bigger than ever before.
While negative reviews can have a significant impact on consumer behaviour, with 92% of consumers saying they’d be less likely to use a business following negative reviews, an average local business’s Google My Business listing is viewed 1,260 times each month, meaning that a negative set of reviews could have a huge impact. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security, customers read reviews before getting in touch with the business, so it’s important your top 10 reviews paint your business in a positive light.