The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Common sense is a useful asset, and as it turns out, it’s a fairly reliable guide when it comes to navigating the big world of online local business reputation. However, for the very first time, thanks to the recent report, The Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior, I was able to test my intuition against original, hard data revealing the habits of real review readers, review writers, and successful owner responses.
I highly recommend reading the full survey analysis, but today, I want to distill that mass of data down into three simple descriptions that emerged through the considerable work of analysis. These three descriptions codify dominant traits, characteristics and behaviors. They are meant to help you envision both the public and practices in an approachable manner, with the proviso that some people and industries will certainly fall outside these norms. For the bulk of local businesses, however, it’s my hope that this synthesis enables you to form a useful mental picture of who and what you’re working with when it comes to growing and managing your reputation.
Review readers are:
Habituated, very trusting unless faced with obvious signals of spam or low quality, much more trusting of other customers than of brands, still highly reliant on real world WOM recommendations, eager for a substantial amount of recent sentiment including negative sentiment, extremely forgiving when problems are resolved, and just one step away from interacting directly with your brand.
Review reading is now a given; 96% of the working age public will read reviews this year to navigate their local landscape. 56% of review readers are highly active daily or weekly readers. Even less active review readers (31%) will turn to reviews monthly or multiple times per year to get local business information.
With 86% of consumers citing reviews as either the most important or somewhat important signal of whether a business can be trusted, reviews are the most influential sales copy review readers will encounter. In fact, only 11% of consumers say they trust what a business says about itself more than they trust what customers say. 83% of review readers trust reviews as much or more than they did 3 years ago.
When choosing between businesses, review readers evaluate the following elements in order of importance: star rating, text content, recency, overall number of reviews, and the presence of owner responses.
Review readers are not as demanding as you might think. Only 13% of review readers require a perfect 5-star rating in order to choose a business. In fact, 44% cite flawless ratings as suspicious. 85% will consider a business with an overall 3 to 4-star rating.
Review readers’ trust can be lost at a glance. When a local business reviews itself or has suspect profiles reviewing it, or when its star rating or review count is notably low compared to competitors’, trust is eroded and review readers may look elsewhere.
Reviews exist on platforms over which businesses have only partial control, but a review readers’ next step lands them back in the brand’s own ball court most of the time, with a combined 91% of readers ending up on the website, at the place of business, or contacting the business directly as their next step. In other words, reviews have added to, but not replaced, traditional shopping behaviors.
Review writers are:
Civic-minded, appreciative, often self-motivated but more frequently in need of prompting, prone to forget to write when they are busy, highly likely to review you if asked via email, text, or face-to-face, active on multiple review platforms, deeply offended by rude service, bad products and incorrect online local business information, very willing to update what they’ve written and give a business a second chance when a complaint is resolved, and a key source of both sales and quality control.
Writing reviews is already a way of life for 41% of your customers who write reviews on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. An additional 44% who will write reviews several times a year may need to be asked, prompted and reminded.
Review writers say 65% of the negative reviews they write stem from bad/rude customer service. 63% cite a bad product, 52% cite false or incorrect online business info on assets like local business listings, 38% cite low-quality work on a job, 28% cite the failure of the business to resolve complaints in-person, and 28% cite inadequate safety protocols.
73% of review writers are civic-minded, leaving sentiment to benefit their community, 63% write to express appreciation to local businesses, and 38% write to tell a local business that it needs to improve.
39% of review writers haven’t been directly asked to write a review in the past 5 years. If asked, 85% will always, usually or at least sometimes write a review. Just 4% never write reviews in response to requests.
54% of review writers like to be approached via email, 45% prefer person-to-person, and 29% prefer texting.
38% of review writers simply forget to review your business when they have free time. 30% find the review writing process too confusing, 26% don’t believe the business will care enough to read what is written, and 19% are not being directly asked to write a review.
Successful owner responses should:
Happen within a two-hour to two-day time frame to please most reviewers, resolve stated complaints, avoid any type of acrimony, offer thanks for positive feedback and apologies for negative experiences, and be written with exceptional care because they influence 90% of customers to a moderate or extreme degree.
60% of customers expect a response to their review within 2 days or less; 11% expect a response within 2 hours, 21% expect a response within 24 hours, and 28% expect a response within 48 hours; 24% say they expect a reply within a week.
54% of customers will definitely avoid a business that is failing to provide a solution to a problem, 46% will definitely avoid a business with an owner who argues with customers in reviews, 47% of consumers will definitely avoid the business when an owner response offers no apology.
67% of negative reviewers had an improved opinion of a brand when the owner responded well. 62% of negative reviewers would give a business a second chance after an owner response solves their problem. 63% of consumers will update their negative review or low-star rating once an owner response resolves their complaint.
Any local business which is founded on a customer-centric and employee-centric model already has a built-in advantage when it comes to managing the offline experiences that form the online brand narrative. Shoppers and staff simply want to be treated fairly and well. Local companies that meet these criteria in-store are capable of utilizing the same skills online, where digital sentiment has become like the front porch on a general store – a meeting, greeting, and helping spot for the community.
Local business owners and their marketers may need to invest in a few new tools to hang out on that porch effectively – think of them as the awning or wood stove you install to facilitate maximum comfort for everybody. But the skills that bring these tools to life are the ones the best local entrepreneurs already know – respect, attentiveness, accountability, empathy, responsiveness. Now we have the data to prove that the common sense approach of treating everyone well is actually very good business.
Hungry for more review data? Read: The Impact of Local Business Reviews on Consumer Behavior.
How to Use UX Research to Help Your Company Grow: 3 Proven Tips
Who knows your target audience better than your team? Your clients themselves. Users with their demands, likings, and desires are mostly the voices that go unnoticed as companies seek to have a smooth user experience.
Having a good team’s commitment, enthusiasm, and hard work will not compensate for the gap in knowledge between what your customers need and what your team believes they will require.
User experience (UX) research overpasses this imbalance throughout the UX design process, making sure that your company ends up saving resources, expanding loyalty, and providing the best UX for each and every user. Discover more about UX research, its solid business importance, and what to test first.
How can organizations employ UX research?
User experience research focuses on ensuring that your customers have a pleasurable interaction while using your service or product. It is critical to consider UX research from the start of any project, as making changes later can be costly and time-consuming.
Here are some ideas for how businesses can perform UX research:
- Ensure that you know who your intended audience is and what they require from your service or product.
- Spend some time learning about the user journey — what actions do they take to accomplish a task? Where do they become perplexed or disappointed?
- Data and feedback should be used to continuously enhance the user experience. Check your product or service with actual users on a regular basis and take note of their feedback.
- Don’t start from the beginning. To get started, there are various off-the-shelf methods and digital options for UX research.
- Ensure that your project has adequate resources.
Three useful practices in UX research
The UX research method plays an important role in your analysis. You need to consider the pros and cons of different techniques. For example, there are methods that are cheap and easy but can take a lot of time when it comes to analysis. Another limitation is your available resources, which will dictate when, how much and what type of UX research you can do. We selected a couple of methods for you that combine affordability and quality at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
The process of evaluating a product or service by checking it with actual users is referred to as usability testing. Throughout a test, respondents will typically attempt to finish basic tasks while observers witness, listen, and take down notes. The goal is to pinpoint any design flaws, gather qualitative and quantitative data, and assess the person involved in overall product satisfaction.
Usability testing allows both design and development teams to discover issues prior to them being programmed. The sooner problems are discovered and resolved, the less pricey the modifications will be in aspects of both staff time and potential schedule impact.
Among the most widespread UX research methods for gathering both qualitative and quantitative feedback from your customers is the UX survey. It assists you in better comprehending customer habits and determining what appears to work and what does not, allowing you to prioritize adjustments to your product’s UX.
UX surveys provide a cost-effective way for a SaaS business offering long-term growth to gather customer feedback and make data-driven judgments. UX surveys can help you identify conflicting points in your product’s UX design and provide you with the information you need to improve the user experience.
Session recording is a descriptive research tool that records website visitor surfing sessions in real-time, allowing you to observe the recordings afterward to gain a deeper visitor behavior perspective. It allows marketers to comprehend a user’s entire route on their website, which includes clicks, scrolls, and mouse movements, among other things.
Session recording enables detailed evaluation and study of visitors’ browsing activity, the realization of experience breakage, and the identification of friction sectors, which then aids in the repair of what is damaged and the optimization of UX, resulting in higher conversion rates.
Session recording records your users’ actual life cycle on your webpage so you can find out which parts of it lure them the most, pushes them deeper into the sales funnel or causes them to fall out, diverts attention from a page’s primary CTA, resulting in low sales, and so on. Such information allows you to make confident, data-driven strategic decisions.
What are the consequences of skipping UX research?
Companies recognize the consequences of bad decisions: lost money, time, brand image, and occasionally even the entire organization.
Trying to skip user research will frequently result in poor corporate strategy based on anything other than factual customer feedback, such as:
- Preoccupation with fashion and design trends. Designers are frequently enamored with the newest trends and believe that if they do not implement them, they really aren’t in tune with the times.
- Emotional commitment. Creators and product owners frequently allow their own emotions to affect their capacity to recognize where enhancements could be made.
- Personal views. Many executives generate decisions based on deeply held values and allow their egos to take precedence over acknowledging user needs.
In the end, it is clear that implementing UX design can benefit companies in a variety of ways. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction and conversions, it can also contribute to lowering support and product production costs.
Moreover, satisfied clients are more likely to participate in favorable word-for-word marketing, which can support attracting additional business. As a result, companies that invest in UX design can anticipate seeing remarkable long-term growth.
No time to underestimate UX
In this blog we have considered a simple but important part of UX research. There are many other methods of conducting this analysis, but you can start with the basics. There is no need to doubt the importance and usefulness of UX research, so we advise you to start implementing it today!
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