91% of SMBs think customer reviews are critical
Survey about online customer reviews on platforms
Uberall, Inc., a location marketing solution for businesses, released new data on how small- and medium-sized businesses feel about online customer reviews across platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Instagram, Google and more. For the survey, more than 300 SMB owners were asked a series of questions about their relationship with customer reviews and the role they play in their overall business strategy.
91 percent of SMBs think online reviews are important
When asked how important SMB business owners thought online reviews were, 54 percent said "very important, while 28 percent believe said "moderately important." In addition, 9 percent believe that online reviews are "slightly important" to their business and 9 percent don't think they are important at all.
"Online reviews are essential to SMBs," said Florian Huebner, Founder & Co-CEO of Uberall. "SMBs typically play in a crowded marketplace, making positive reviews a critical differentiator and a major lead-generation tool."
63 percent of SMBs encourage customers to post reviews online
Asking customers to share an online review about their experience is a good way for smaller and mid-sized businesses to receive constructive feedback about someone's experience. And today, more and more SMBs are asking for these reviews. 63 percent ask customers to leave a review online – whether it's positive or negative – while 37 percent do not.
86 percent respond to reviews – but frequency varies
Once a customer posts a review online, it's up to the business whether they're going to respond to it or not. And, it turns out, most of them do. According to Uberall's study, 37 percent of SMBs always respond to online reviews, while 25 percent say they respond "frequently," but not always. In addition, 26 percent say they "sometimes" respond and 14 percent never do.
And of those who respond to customer reviews, 81 percent respond to both positive and negative reviews, while 6 percent only respond to negative reviews and 12 percent only respond to positive reviews.
"A constructive dialogue between a business owner and customer is good for both parties," says Huebner. "This interaction shows the customer that the business truly cares about them since they're willing to have such a personalized conversation. For a business, their response could play a major role in whether or not customers decide to return."
Most SMBs respond to negative reviews to rectify a problem
When asked why an SMB would be likely to respond to a negative review, 32 percent said "to implement solutions to issues that are being clearly cited by customers as problematic." Other responses were "to show other potential/future customers that we are attentive and care" (29 percent), "to discover quality control failures in your place of business" (20 percent), "to win back an unhappy customer" (20 percent).
"Negative reviews allow SMBs to see potential areas of their business where people think they can improve on," Huebner said. "If a customer leaves a negative response, a proactive way for the SMB to minimize the damage is to respond to their concern or problem. Showing that they value their customers' opinion presents a positive image and can ultimately help keep the business or win more."
83 percent respond to customer reviews within a few days
Uberall's survey found that SMBs tend to respond relatively quickly to customer reviews. 43 percent respond "within a few days," while 39 percent respond either as soon as they're posted or within 24 hours. Other responses included "within a few weeks" (7 percent), "once a month" (5 percent) or "less than once a month" (6 percent).
Here is Uberall's SMB Customer Review Report.