When it comes to influencing purchase decisions, consumers take product and business reviews to heart. But, it’s not just reviews that consumers read — close to three-quarters also read the businesses’ responses to these reviews. This is per a survey from BrightLocal that looks at how local business reviews impact consumer behavior.
The Q4 2020 survey of more than 1,000 US consumers found that close to 9 in 10 either always (34%), regularly (26%), or occasionally (27%) read online reviews. Just 1 in 8 (13%) said they never read local business reviews online.
Consumers put a lot of stock in these reviews. Some 79% of respondents said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. This is saying a lot considering the trust consumers put in brand information and recommendations coming from these individuals.
Moreover, a review often determines the likelihood of a consumer using a local business. This can be seen with 94% of consumers agreeing that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business. Even more telling, 92% also said that negative reviews make them less likely to use a business — a finding that has increased from 82% the previous year.
As for the reviews consumers care most about, 86% said they only pay attention to reviews written in the last three months, while 73% only consider reviews written in the last month.
The largest percentage (84%) of consumers care most about the overall star rating when choosing a local business, with fewer than half (48%) saying they will consider using a business with less than four stars and 1 in 8 (12%) saying they won’t use businesses with fewer than five stars.
Local Businesses’ Response to Reviews
Local businesses should take heed in their decision of whether or not to respond to online reviews. Almost three-quarters of respondents reported that they either always (40%) or regularly (33%) read local businesses’ responses to reviews. Another quarter (23%) read them occasionally.
For those consumers who say they have written a review for a local business, about one-third (35%) report that they have received a response from the business every time. Others say they have received responses to more than half of their reviews (21%) or at least one review (21%).
Consumers also expect a speedy response to their review, with one-fifth expecting a response within a single day and another quarter expecting a response within 2 days of their review.
Read more results from the survey here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a November 2020 survey of 1,013 US consumers.