NCBW National Small Business Week: Leave a Business Review Day!
By Bella-Giavanni Austin, National Economic Empowerment Committee
Looking for a way to support a black-owned business owner today? Try submitting an online review! With the pandemic and innovative technologies, the internet is now bringing all purchases to our fingertips and consumers are now leveraging the internet as a forum where they can evaluate products/services based on impressions, reputation and supportive feedback from other, like-minded consumers through a review.
In return, Business owners are utilizing online reviews as a method to obtain new and returning customers, a method that now bridges the gap between traditional ‘word of mouth’ and a viral form of feedback that can influence consumers. Let’s take a moment to highlight the importance of a review.
Benefits of a Review
1. Consumers Review the ‘Reviews’ Before Purchase
Statistics show that the majority of all online shoppers use reviews to determine what products to buy and which services to purchase. In 2017, customers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business; an increase from six in the previous year. And with more than 90% of all customers using online reviews as part of their research at the local and national level, the easier question would be: Who isn’t reading them?
- According to Fan & Fuel (2016), 94% of online customers read reviews before making any purchasing decisions.
- BrightLocal (2017) studies indicate that 97% of consumers use reviews to search for local services. Specifically, 60% of consumers read reviews for restaurants and cafes, 40% for B&B’s, and 33% for medical services.
- Small Business Trends (2017) shows 83% of job seekers use reviews to support their decisions on which companies to apply to. And 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians before checking in.
- Merely informing customers of the availability of a product or service is no longer adequate; customers are also craving knowledge from first-hand experiences. Further, public services, hospitality, recruitment, retail, and health care have all gained insights by using customer reviews to refine their marketing strategies and improve their services. Businesses that don’t have reviews may be missing an opportunity to grow their business.
2. Business owners can Improve Customer Service based on a Review
Analyzing reviews left by customers can help a company understand overall customer satisfaction, as they can provide the business with feedback regarding what customers really want.
3. Reviews create Credibility & Trust
No doubt, we are all social creatures and we are interested in knowing what others say before we make our buying decisions. Much like we would ask friends and family for recommendations, review sites allow us to do this online with just some clicks.
Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to interact with the company.
- 68% of online shoppers are more likely to engage with businesses that have positive reviews (BrightLocal 2017)
- 93% determine whether a business has a good reputation (or not) based upon the available reviews.
- In 2016, Fan & Fuel reported that 92% of consumers hesitated to make a purchase if there were no customer reviews, and a full 97% say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions.
But if you think that’s impressive, read on. Products with reviews are 270% more likely to be bought than a product without, according to Speigel Research Centre (2017). For a higher priced product, this likelihood increases to 380%.
4. Reviews foster Relationship Building
Reviews provide an opportunity for businesses and customers to build a relationship with one another. Establishing an emotional connection with customers is shown to provide 23% more revenue than with a non-engaged customer. The impact of the customer-business bond is reiterated by Gallup Research, which indicates that in sectors such as retail banking, customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank. Consumers who are engaged with their “favored” electronics businesses spend 29% more per shopping trip than customers who are not. Gallup also highlights that in the hospitality industry, hotel guests who are engaged with their hotels will spend 46% more per year opposed to those who have no relationship with the hotel. B2B Companies realize 63% lower customer attrition, 55% higher wallet share, and 50% higher productivity. After-sales customer service establishes trust and, as reported by BrightLocal, positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. A full 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews are undeniably an established and growing method of customer engagement.
Tips when submitting Feedback: The Art of a Negative Review
Studies show that a customer is more likely to leave a review after a negative experience than a positive one. Negative reviews can have a dramatic, and sometimes detrimental effect on a business.
- Fan & Fuel (2016) found that 35% of surveyed participants say that just one negative review can make them decide not to make a purchase.
- Although Review Trackers (2018) states 94% of consumers have reportedly avoided a business based on negative reviews, it is also good to note- if a business has nothing but excellent reviews, it tends to lead to suspicion.
A CALL TO ACTION: Leave a Review Today!
In summary, writing reviews for a Black-owned business on platforms such as Yelp and Google can be considered important because these reviews bring in “direct traffic to that business.
If you happen to endure an unsatisfactory experience or see something that could be improved, it’s encouraged to be supportive and uplift the community by leaving a note for the business during their visit or write a constructive review with suggestions.
People are talking and people are listening. The online review is potentially the most powerful, mutually beneficial tool any business can employ and any consumer can support. If you would like to show your appreciation and support for a black-owned business, write a review today!!