Customer reviews are changing the playing field for Australian businesses. But are businesses getting a hard time, or are reviews a brilliant marketing strategy? New data from Word Of Mouth Online suggests customers are kinder than we might think.
We typically think of customer feedback with that old wives' tale in mind – “a happy customer might tell 1 or 2 people but an unhappy customer will tell 5 or more”. But actual experience with over 240,000 online reviews shows us that reviewer behaviour is quite different. In fact on WOMO.com.au, Australia's number 1 business reviews website, a massive 79% of reviews are positive with only 7% being negative and the remaining 14% being neutral (see chart below).
Many businesses are afraid to seek customer feedback, despite the well-known SEO benefits and the huge impact that a strong online reputation has on businesses. The reason? They are afraid that a vocal minority of hard-to-please customers will be the only ones to review them. But this simply is not true.
If anything, it seems that happy customers are much more likely to be vocal online and share their positive experiences with others. Customers seem quite aware that their ratings and comments are public and permanent. They respect the fact that their review becomes are key part of what others know about the business and therefore are far more likely to review the businesses they love.
Fiona Adler, founder of Word Of Mouth Online, says: "We've seen over and over again the difference that as few as 5-10 positive reviews can have on small businesses and often the results are phenomenal. Negative reviews are extremely rare and once a business has accumulated a bank of positive reviews, their impact is minimal." (They also provide businesses with tips for dealing with negative reviews).
Customers are smart and when choosing a business, they look for the overall feedback – not the one or two rogue reviews.
Word Of Mouth Online is Australia's largest business directory based entirely on consumer reviews for the businesses they've used. The website (www.womo.com.au) helps people find the best businesses and avoid the worst, while also helping good businesses promote themselves with word-of-mouth.
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