We are about 10 years into online business reviews era and a new large study by Womply is giving us better insights to how online business reviews can impact your business. Do you stress over getting 5-star reviews. The latest findings say that review are important, but they also tell us 5-stars isn't everything.
Did you know a 5-star rating is actually NOT associated with the highest revenue for small businesses? In fact, 5-star businesses actually earn less on average. Why? There could be many factors, but the most likely is that when a customer sees dozens of five star ratings with no 4 or 2 star ratings then they become suspicious. No business should have a customer not have any complains. The star-rating sweet spot for revenue is between 3.5 and 4.5 stars, according to Womply’s study. But even businesses that average 35-50% negative reviews earn nearly the same as the average business.
What the study found is that if you want to drive revenue, your business should start replying to your reviews. Businesses that reply to at least 25% of their reviews average 35% more revenue than the average business the study concluded. Also, and many business leaders don't know this, but when you reply to Google business reviews it gives a little boost to your rankings.
Another interesting finding is that is that low ratings on Google are more potentially damaging to small businesses than poor ratings on Yelp, Facebook and other similar sites. In the study, businesses with an average Google star rating of 1 to 1.5 averaged 33% less revenue per year than the average business, while businesses with the same star rating on Yelp or Facebook averaged 19% and 9% less than average.
Just two weeks ago I had a client who was highly concerned about some unfair negative reviews and wanted to know what they should do. We built a successful strategy for their specific needs, but the main thing was to make sure the negative reviews were buried in love. That included replying to the negative review and making sure the balance of reviews were very positive through great customer service. Your clients expect and can discern when a negative review is unfair or outside the norm. If you promptly reply in a professional manner you can turn the situation around. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a 1-star review become very friendly by a prompt and appropriate reply to a customer who was very upset and with just a few sentences totally started changing their comments and even saying thanks by the end of the thread. Those kind of customer service events are WAY more powerful than a five star review because potential customers can see your quality.
Want more great tips on how to use reviews and Google My Business online listings to drive your revenue? Read our popular Secret Google My Business Ranking Factors post. I found even many SEO professionals have found a tip or two in that post that can drive rankings. Need help with your business review or search engine optimization? Contact us to let us know how we can help.