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Your Competition has More Online Reviews than You

How much do online reviews matter today? A lot according to BrightLocal’s 2016 local consumer review survey.

At Jobber Academy we believe that a smart use of technology is essential to running a great service business, and our definition of ‘technology’ goes beyond the realm of Jobber’s business management software to include different web and social media strategies, automations, and more.

Needless to say, we were pretty excited to come across BrightLocal’s Annual Local Consumer Review Survey. It’s full of fresh perspective on the power of web search and online reviews when it comes to consumers searching for and selecting local businesses.

BrightLocal asked respondents 17 questions split into 2 categories. Category 1 contains questions relating to people’s habits and behaviours when it comes to looking up services online and consuming reviews. Category 2 dives into how much people weigh the importance of online reviews when they’re searching for and ultimately selecting a local business.

It’s important to note that this survey captures people’s thoughts and habits when they’re searching for a variety of local business types, including restaurants, car dealerships, and clothing stores, but field service business owners are also represented (see the breakdown of business types and read the analysis here) and should take note of these consumer habits!

Now on to the good stuff.

Here are some insights we found especially interesting.

1. 84% of local consumers trust web reviews as much as personal recommendations

Wow! This number is only up 4% from 2015, but most notably, those selecting Yes, always rose from 8% in 2015 to 18% in 2016. It’s clear that consumer trust in web reviews is only gaining traction.

To add more force to this stat, 50% of respondents said they regularly read online reviews to determine whether a local business is good or bad. To look at it from another perspective, only 9% of consumers don’t read online reviews.

If that’s not a case for spending time collecting online reviews for your service business on its own, then keep reading.

2. Nearly 70% of local consumers are confident about a business after reading less than 7 reviews​

This means that you shouldn’t let the idea of collecting a large quantity of reviews stop you from collecting reviews in the first place.

More good news: most respondents were happy to choose a business with a rating of 3 to 5 stars (out of 5). 42% reported 3 out of 5 stars would suffice, so there’s no need to worry about pursuing review perfection (because negative reviews happen). Just start collecting them! On that note…

3. 7 out of 10 people will leave a review if you just ask them

This stat speaks for itself. Turns out that collecting reviews is as easy as asking. And one of the best times to do so is after you successfully complete a job.

Simply ask a customer to leave a review as you finish up a job, or send them a follow-up email asking for a review with a link to your review pages.

4. Facebook leads the way for review platforms

When asked how they’ve commonly reviewed or recommended a business in the last year, word of mouth reigned supreme, with Facebook taking second place by a large margin. A great reason to start a Facebook page if there ever was one.

It’s worth looking at the breakdown of platforms to get an idea of where you can start collecting reviews.

Conclusion

Online reviews are clearly becoming more and more important as people search for local businesses online.

Reviews will inevitably show up online whether or not you ask for them, so why not lead happy customers to your review pages. Realistically speaking, you can’t please everyone, so you don’t want to let your dissatisfied customers dominate the conversation!

Where to start? Get your service business into the game by simply asking your customers for reviews after a job well done.

These are key takeaways for service business owners, but the entire BrightLocal survey is worth a look.

Do you notice the impact of online reviews on your business? Are new customers coming to you via online review platforms? Let us know in the comments below!

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