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. 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. For product-specific information, Spiegel Research Centre (2017) shows that 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase.

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.

The Impact of Reviews

Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions but can strengthen a company’s credibility. Reviews have the power to gain customer trust, and they encourage people to interact with the company. Customer interaction ultimately leads to improved profits for businesses.

Customer Engagement

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.

Source (01.7.20)

Reviews are more than just a snapshot of what our customers/clients/learners/delegates are saying about the experience/service they received from us.

For me, and research has shown, reviews are also important for our own Personal Professional Development. In fact, you can learn more about yourself from a negative review than you can a positive one.  No I’m not saying we should not strive for positive reviews. It what we do next with our customer reviews.

Once you have your amazing fantastic review what do you do with it?

  • Maybe you post it on your social media and website. – Then what?
  • You jump up and down with excitement as it gives you such a positive emotional boost.

Just because a review is positive you can still learn something from it to avoid being complacent.

In teaching and I’m sure in a lot of professions it is a really good tool to ask yourself “what went well? What could I have improved”? Does that review reflect what happened on the day?

We know to use any customer review to make improvements for the next job or next task to give an even better service next time.

Reviews are also a really powerful way to self-reflect and ensure we grow as professionals and the services we provide stay fresh and what the customer wants.

 Reviews can be used to self-reflect on who we are and what we want our next goal to be.

At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought. The most useful reflection involves the conscious consideration and analysis of beliefs and actions for the purpose of learning.

Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle, and sort through observations and experiences to change what we do for next time. (Source Harvard Business Review 01.07.20)

Never waste the opportunity to gain customer views and learn from all of them.

We all love customer reviews, they are becoming more and more important in gaining new business but it’s vital to remember that we learn from them and grow as professionals too.

Taking time to think, reflect, and adapt what we do next time is vital as we all move forward in our careers, business, and as individuals.

Louise Vickers- Willhan Training

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