30% of consumers admit to reversing negative reviews once their concern has been responded to. Despite consumer demand to have online reviews answered by businesses, only 12% report that their reviews are often or always responded to.
These statistics were unveiled by Zen Business’s ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ survey. The research surveyed 352 employees and 698 customers about their customer review habits. The importance of positive reviews on businesses has long been documented and understood. What is less widely acknowledged is the significance of responding to reviews.
Reverse Negative Reviews by Interacting with Customers
Zen Business’s research confirmed the long-established principle that the customer is always worth listening to. As Zen Business notes in a blog about the research:
“How companies do business has evolved quite a bit in the last 100 years, but opinions about how to handle customer relationships have remained fairly consistent.
“Our findings show that more than half of companies still hold the belief that “the customer is always right,” but not in the way we think. It’s less about facts and more about listening to customer concerns to show them that businesses value their feedback.”
The survey explored the frequency that customers made online reviews. It found that the average reviewer writes approximately 6.5 reviews every year. It also looked at different demographic trends in relation to online reviews. Reviewers in their 30s tend to be most inclined to leave reviews, at an average 7.1 reviews a year.
Importance of Responding to Negative Reviews
Underlining the importance of responding to online reviews, the survey explored the thoughts of different age demographics of consumers in relation to review feedback. It found that consumers in their 40s and above are most likely to stop using a business if their concern was not addressed.
Reverse Negative Reviews into a Positive
Customers in their 20s (33%) are the leading demographic to admit to changing a negative review to more positive feedback after receiving a response. This age group are also most likely to remove a negative review after receiving a response from the business, with 27% of participants reporting doing so.
The research looked at how the age of a business affected how owners view the stature of customer reviews. The responses unveiled that newer businesses (56%) believe that reviews have a moderate to extreme impact on the success of their business. This compared to 45% of older businesses that hold similar beliefs.
Dismissing a Business if Reviews Aren’t Addressed
The study provides valuable insight into the impact of customer reviews on sales. Almost 65% of participants said they stopped going to a business if their review was not addressed.
The overall message of ‘The Customer is Always Right’ study is that reviews continue to play a vital role in business growth and success. In these challenging times, small businesses should make responding to online reviews a priority in order to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty. Reacting to customer reviews can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to nurture customer loyalty and business growth.
This article originally appeared in Small Business Trends