There’s a common saying that goes something like this: “If it’s good, you’ll tell one person. If it’s bad, you’ll tell twenty.” Nowhere is that more true than in the online review space.
Many organizations, especially in the healthcare industry, ignore review sites completely because they don’t think they’re important, don’t get how they work, or feel like they’re rigged. One client of ours remarked that “Yelp is just so frustrating! It seems like they block our good reviews and only let the bad ones through.” We get it. Yelp IS a tricky platform to succeed on, especially as they double down on barring businesses from asking for reviews.
But that doesn’t mean you can just pretend it doesn’t exist. Believe us, it’s a lot more important than you might think.
Some quick stats about online review sites in general from BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey:
- 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking every day
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
- Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback
- 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but a worrying 84% can’t always spot them
- Yelp & Facebook are local consumers’ most trusted review sites, followed by Google & BBB.org
- People are becoming less likely to visit businesses’ websites after reading positive reviews – a 17% drop from 2016
- 32% of consumers read local reviews on mobile apps this year (a growth of 14% from 2016)
- Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – up from 6 last year
It’s clear from the data that online reviews are becoming a crucial part of consumers’ decision making, on par with asking their friends for recommendations, and Yelp is the king of online reviews.
So what’s a business to do to succeed in this new landscape of online reviews? The first step is to stop ignoring them. Yelp and other review sites aren’t going away anytime soon. We recommend you bite the bullet and check your Yelp reviews: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Only once you acknowledge that online reviews are important and assess where you’re at can you move forward with making a game plan for how to optimize them.
By the way, did you know Evolution does reputation management too? If your online reviews aren’t where you’d like them to be, we can help. Contact us.