More than ever, consumers in the US and Canada are reading online customer reviews to determine whether a local business is a good one, according to results from the latest annual BrightLocal survey examining consumer attitudes to reviews for local businesses. This year, 88% of respondents claimed to regularly (39%) or occasionally (49%) read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, up from 85% last year and 71% in 2011. More than 7 in 10 also said that positive reviews make them trust a business more.
With the most common answer being that they do trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations if there are multiple customer reviews to read, it’s interesting to note that two-thirds of respondents need to read up to 6 reviews before they feel that they can trust the business.
Also of note: 92% of respondents will use a local business if it has a 4-star rating; 72% if it has a 3-star rating; but just 27% if it has a 2-star rating.
Turning to business types, the survey of 2,104 consumers (90% in the US; 10% in Canada) reveals that:
In terms of reputation, the study indicates that the most important of 7 identified traits when selecting a local business to use is reliability (27%), with expertise (21%) and professionalism (18%) next-most important.
Finally, some 61% have recommended a local business to people they know via word-of-mouth, with Facebook (38%) the next-most popular recommendation method.
The 2013 study results can be accessed here.
About the Data: The survey was conducted over 6 weeks in May-June 2014.
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