During October, a survey was commissioned by Yelp and conducted by Kelton Global on review quality and transparency online, using a sample group of 1,500 people in the United States aged 18 years and older. 

It was discovered that 9 out of 10 people (88%) are more likely to overlook a negative review if they see that the business has responded and addressed the review appropriately and professionally. The survey further found that 97% of the respondents believe that written reviews, coupled with the star rating are the most insightful type of online reviews.

 

Reviews that users have come to trust

While 97% of respondents found written reviews with star ratings to be the most insightful, 59% of respondents believe that star ratings without text description of the user’s experience should not be considered a legitimate review at all. Joy Hawkin, the owner of Local Search Forum, Local U and Sterling Sky mentioned that one-star ratings with no text description offer no value to customers and are the most difficult type of negative review to get Google to remove, as there is no context to convince Google that it violates their policies and guidelines.

 

Source: Search Engine Land

The survey noted that 59% of respondents found that medium length reviews (reviews coming in between 16-50 words) were to be equally as insightful. Based on the respondents who mention they read the reviews in depth when considering a product or service from a business, 54% said they read between 3-5 reviews about a business before making an informed decision.

 

Source: Search Engine Land

 

Responding frequently can help a business recover from negative reviews

As mentioned above, 88% of respondents are more likely to overlook a past negative review if they see the business has responded and adequately addressed the review. This insight complements a previous finding that mentions that customers are 33% more likely to update their negative review if a business replies with a personalised message within 24 hours.

 

Customers do not trust businesses that solicit reviews

50% of the respondents made mention that they do not trust a business and their reviews if they know the business asked their customers to leave a review. 64% of the respondents who read reviews in-depth said that reviews made after a business asked for one are biased, whilst 71% of respondents mentioned that they would write a review if the business offered them an incentive or discount to do so. This highlights that customers either aren’t aware or do not care about the impact that misleading reviews can have.

The solicitation of reviews in any form is against the Yelp guidelines, yet on Google’s local platform, asking customers to leave reviews is viewed as acceptable. Although, it is prohibited to discourage customers from leaving negative reviews or solicit positive reviews.

 

Why should you care?

As there is not much a local business can do to influence their reviews garnered online outside of providing a welcoming and positive experience for their customers, there are ways in which they can recover from negative reviews. As mentioned above, an adequate and timely response to a negative review might influence the reviewer to change their rating and show potential customers that you are responsive to their reviews.

The insights further suggest that businesses should take caution when asking for reviews as customers are cautious and less receptive to businesses that ask for positive reviews, therefore it is best to be careful when doing so, as both Google and Yelp have specific guidelines and policies regarding soliciting reviews.

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