Worried about the online reviews of your business? You should be.
Nearly 3 in 5 shoppers say they find online reviews as trustworthy as a friend’s review.
Consumers Trust Online Reviews
So, if a potential customer is considering your business or products and they don’t ask a friend about it, they’re likely to decide based on your reviews. Those are the findings from a survey by ReportLinker on the trustworthiness of online reviews.
According to the data, 59 percent of the 535 online respondents say online reviews are as trustworthy as a personal recommendation. In fact, 7 percent said that online reviews are actually more trustworthy than a review from a friend. Conversely, 34 percent of that same pool say online reviews are less trustworthy than one they would get from a friend.
Even from your own shopping habits, you know that you don’t rely on a friend’s recommendation for every purchase you make online — or at a store. And these numbers suggest consumers, if possible, would check both with a friend and with an online review before making a purchase.
What’s In a Good Online Review?
Consumers are more likely to trust online reviews of your business or store if the reviews have some substance. Glowing and superficial emoji and exclamation points won’t win over the person who just happens upon your site or business.
ReportLinker identified what respondents want to see in a good online review:
- 62 percent say they evaluate the content of a review. But respondents also believe a mix of good and bad reviews builds credibility.
- 58 percent say the number of reviews is important. 32 percent say that 30 or more online reviews builds credibility.
As much as consumers trust their friends, they really don’t seem to need to know much about online reviewers when gauging trustworthiness, however. Just 26 percent of respondents said overall credibility of the author of an online review is important to them.
Word-of-Mouth Still Rules
The data from ReportLinker definitely shows the increasing value in online reviews. But few customers will actually leave a review of your business. And when they do, it’s generally positive.
According to a report accompanying the data, “It turns out that a negative experience drives far fewer people to write a review than conventional wisdom seems to imply. Almost half of respondents say a very satisfying experience will inspire them to contribute a recommendation, while just 34 percent say a very dissatisfying experience sparks the need to review the product or service.
The report also shows that 89 percent of those asked still would trust a friend over an online review if presented with both.