Why Customer Reviews Matter Chris Lonergan November 15, 2017 Share: Most small businesses understand that customer reviews are a major component of maintaining an online marketing presence and getting new customers. The 2017 BrightLocal Survey helps to put some good math and hard numbers behind this – which helps us to make better decisions and remind us of how absolutely vital customer reviews are to the process. Let's go over some of the key findings from this most recent survey and talk about what that means for your contractor business. 97% of Consumers Read Online Reviews for Local Businesses in 2017 This goes a little beyond "it is important that your business has reviews." With virtually all consumers checking our online reviews before engaging with a local business, you simply must have reviews or you will lose out on the opportunity to earn clients – Prospective customers are making that judgment call before they even hit your website or dial your phone number. If you shop online, when is the last time you made a purchase without checking for reviews first? Your customers are doing the same thing when it comes to your service. Do you have zero reviews? Or just a few reviews? You're automatically missing out on 97% of your potential customers. 85% of Consumers Trust Online Reviews as Much as Personal Recommendations Saying that you get your business primarily by "word of mouth" usually means you don't really have any marketing strategies in place. In 2017, "online reviews" is the new "word of mouth" – with 85% of customers valuing online reviews the same way they do personal recommendations. Yelp & Facebook Are Local Consumers' Most Trusted Review Sites, Followed by Google & Bbb.org While I'd argue that some of this depends on your region and the age of your target customer, this one was personally interesting to me. While Google will always be a monolith in the online world, this data shows that people are in general more trusted of reviews on "social" sites instead of on data driven companies.. Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more It goes without saying that online reviews guide customers to make decisions – so it only makes sense that when the majority of people see positive reviews they will assume you are a trustworthy business. 49% of Consumers Need at Least a Four-Star Rating Before They Choose to Use a Business Every customer interaction and job completed can put your reputation and your business on the line. While it is not expected that you get 100% five star reviews, it's important that you resolve unhappy clients and ensure the satisfaction of all those with the ability to review your business. About Chris Lonergan Chris Lonergan is the President of Footbridge Media. With a background in web design, print design, and online marketing, Chris is focused on providing quality marketing and business solutions in the construction and service industries - helping small business owners to more efficiently manage their company and grow their operations. Recent Articles The Importance of Reputation Management for Contractor Businesses What Makes Your Business Unique - Discovering & Defining Your USP 7 Proven & Effective Ways to Improve Online Presence for Your Contractor Business 5 Tips for Positive Brand Building for Contractors Successful Ways to Earn Repeat and Referral Business Is Your Contractor Marketing Plan Up-to-Date?