1. Do reviews really matter that much?
2. Does responding to those reviews make that much of a difference?
Well, thanks to Cornell and Harvard universities, we now have hard evidence to back up what we have been saying all along: a resounding 'Yes!'
Here's a synopsis of over 200 pages of detailed academic work...
Do reviews matter?Reviews matter in many ways:
- Positive reviews drive business and enable the business to charge more
- Negative reviews drive business away and impact on prices and rates
- A single negative review can result in a fall in revenue of up to 20%
- The ratings (Google, Booking.com etc.) and rankings (TripAdvisor) are an amalgam of the individual review scores and these, in turn, increasingly dictate charges
Does responding to reviews make a difference?This was one of the most interesting findings of the Harvard study: reviewers are influenced by what they see before they write their own review, and on top of that finding...
- Reviewers who receive responses are more likely to use the business again
- Reviewers who write a positive review and don't receive a response are less likely to use the business again
- Reviewers who write a negative review and don't receive a response are more likely to post that review elsewhere - increasing the damage it causes
- Reviewers who see that the business responds to reviews are less likely to post negative reviews (and certainly less likely to exaggerate their complaints)
- Reviewers who see that the business responds are more likely to post a positive review
- Reviewers who see that the business has overwhelmingly great (5*) reviews are more likely to post a 5* review themselves
- Reviewers who see that the business has mainly negative reviews are less likely to score the business at 5* (or equivalent) even if entirely happy with the service they received
It's all common sense really, but it's nice to have it backed up by academic research!