In a recent post, (“Does Texting Top Talking to Local Home Improvement Services Businesses?”), we led with a story about an associate of Keyword Connects upgrading his smartphone. Because you need to know, here is more of that story.
Knowing that the wireless device purveyor had several locations, several of which were dealers, our friend had hopped into his car fully intending to head to the only factory-direct store in the area. Something made him stop before backing out of his driveway. He had found several locations, but he had not checked their individual online reviews. When he did, he saw a wide disparity in the customer reviews. Suffice it to say that he changed his plans when he saw that the company store – which he had assumed would be better – had a two-star rating and an abundance of bad reviews, but a dealer close by had a five-star rating. He went to the five-star dealer.
I’m going where customers are happy to go.
Is It Normal for Consumers to Read Online Reviews?
Do consumers read online reviews? At least one does. Do they pay attention to those reviews? Apparently one does. Our only problem is that we often wonder if our associate is normal, but that’s another story. In case he is not – and the odds are that he isn’t – let’s take a look beyond the anecdotal to the analytical.
This Applies to Your Home Improvement Business
BrightLocal conducted a Local Consumer Review Survey in 2014. The purpose of the survey was to understand how online reviews influence the attitudes of consumers toward local businesses and how they directly affect the purchase of local business services. Here are some of the statistics coming out of the data the survey collected.
- 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
- 67% usually read up to six reviews.
- 85% usually read up to ten reviews.
- 72% said that positive reviews “make them trust a local business more.” (Maybe our guy is more normal than we thought.)
- 88% “trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
The numbers are amazing.
Should You Be Worried?
A lot of businesses, some of them home improvement services, are skittish about online reviews. Some are downright scared of them. Some would say that they are afraid that someone might write an unfavorable review. We’ll discuss that potential in more detail later in this series.
Let’s Deal With the Realities of Reviews.
The real reason that some businesspeople worry about online reviews is that those reviews – good or bad – are out of their control. That’s reality.
We are all control freaks by nature. That’s reality.
To some extent, most people fear what they cannot control. That’s reality.
Most people will agree that word-of-mouth (WOM) is the best advertising. If you agree, you have nothing to worry about. Online reviews are WOM on steroids. Before the maturity of the internet, WOM was hit-and-miss. It had to come up in conversation – multiple times – to be effective.
Am I happy? You bet I am! These guys just told me who to call to remodel my kitchen.
Today, if customers want to use WOM, they can go online and tell the world. And you can’t directly control what they say. All that you can control is how you operate your business and how you treat your customers. The chances are that when you do that, your online reviews will generate leads, or, at least, help consumers make informed decisions, that will grow your business without you trying to do anything more than ensuring your past and current customers are satisfied.
Contact us and let us show you how not to worry about home improvement online reviews. Look for the next article in this series, “Learning to Love Online Reviews,” coming soon.