1. Do reviews really matter that much?
2. Does responding to those reviews make that much of a difference?
This study - published by Harvard Business School - concludes that reviews drive business and that responding to reviews drives business and deflects negative reviews.
Well, thanks to Cornell and Harvard universities, we 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 (we read it so you don't have to!)...
Do reviews matter?
Both the Harvard and the Cornell studies have proven that businesses that rank highly can charge more for whatever service they are providing, purely by virtue of that ranking
The report says a resounding 'Yes!', reviews do 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%
ratings (Google, Yelp etc.) and rankings (Google/TripAdvisor) are an
amalgam of the individual review scores and these, in turn, increasingly
dictate rates, fees and charges
Looking this good in search has been proven to have the effects listed above - great scores have been proven to drive business and the great reviews underlying it have been proven to positively impact on rates
One of the most interesting findings of the Harvard study was that reviewers are influenced by what they see before they write their own review, and on top of that they found...
- 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
This is an excellent example of 'best practice': the response to the review has been prompt and personal. The review itself powerfully supports the business's fee levels and the response shows any reader - potential customer - that the business cares about its client relationships
So there you have it: your efforts in getting great reviews and then responding to them will be rewarded.
Note for our clients: if you are unsure how to respond to reviews - through Dialogue, on Google or any other platform, please speak to Karen Hutchings or one of her team and they will advise.