A recent report based on 2016 data collected from a number of reputable sources*, concluded that despite a 2% drop year on year since 2014, “word of mouth” is still the most popular method of recommendation for consumers.
The next best thing to “word of mouth” it seems, is that of on-line consumer reviews. For example, how many times have you looked at the reviews before you have bought something on Amazon ? It is pretty much part of the normal procedure these days. This process is not reserved for products but also extends to services. Testimonials have always been a useful thing to have but this has extended to “star ratings” and “reviews” as well these days.
You will almost certainly have heard of review sites like Checkatrade and have probably used it if you have been looking for a local tradesman. This is an invaluable source of verified customer feedback and is really targeted at the business-to-consumer (b2c) market.
For the business-to-business (b2b) market, this is not quite so easy so businesses have to rely on getting feedback they can use by way of testimonials and reviews directly from their clients. This also extends these days to video testimonials as well – the best of both worlds really – spoken word and media that can be added to your website for your customers to see.
There are typically many myths circulating at any time about all sorts of things so most of us like to see some statistics so that we can get a better understanding of what our peers think of a topic and so that we can make up our own minds on how important such items are.
The sample of the collected data below shows that overall, customers like and respond well to on-line reviews. Most of the 2016 statistics have shown improvement since previous collected data in 2014.
The fact that 92% of the respondents said that they actually read on-line reviews indicates just how important they are. On top of that, 80% said that they trust reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations from colleagues, friends or family.
Star ratings have always been a great indicator for a product or service and are well understood by most people. Seeing a star rating displayed in search results allows a listing to stand out from the others and other research has shown that it can improve click through rates.
Google seem to keep changing their minds on whether to display them or not in the search results. At the time of writing this article, they are showing them.
Clearly, this is (currently) something you can make use of in your on-line marketing to differentiate yourself from your competitors. From experience, businesses aren’t so good at getting testimonials or reviews from their clients but generally all you need to do is ask – most people who have had a good experience with a company are more than happy to write a few words for you.
So, what are you waiting for! Start asking your customers for testimonials and reviews and get them on your website. You can (and should) also ask them to add reviews on your “Google my business” listing and directory sites like “Yell.com” etc.
If you are a tradesman, you probably already have a Checkatrade page so make sure you have a link to that from your website, you can also reproduce a sample of your reviews from there onto your website so your website visitors don’t have to leave your site to read them.