Interview: Carnegie Mellon Professor Ari Lightman On How Students Are Empowered By Learning To Use Brandwatch Consumer Research
By Kara FinnertyJun 10
Published February 9th 2015
The way people use online review sites to discover businesses is more important than ever today. For residential service providers like electricians, landscapers, exterminators or plumbers, consumers are flocking to online reviews to decide who they should hire for their next job.
Software Advice, a company that researches and compares technology for businesses, decided to look into exactly how current and potential service customers are interacting with and utilizing review sites in their search.
Their new report uncovered that a staggering 96% of people value online reviews when selecting a residential service provider.
Given this data, we had a conversation with Software Advice researcher Justin Guinn, who surveyed 1,239 consumers to find out what the allure of online reviews is all about.
Customers are sharing experiences on review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google Local reviews. Customers are also voicing positive and negative opinions and experiences on Facebook and Twitter, so that other potential customers can get an idea of what it’s like to work with a certain company.
It’s critical today for companies to understand the power that online opinions can have on their business.
They should be fully aware of all the customer pain-points being expressed online. If they can overcome a pain-point, then they can reap the revenue that follows.
Yelp is the most popular of the review sites out there today.
Our study shows 74 percent of respondents consult Yelp when selecting residential service companies (i.e. pest control, home cleaning services, cable/internet). I’d imagine that percentage is much higher for things like restaurants, bars, and other companies/services used more frequently.
In terms of the effects they have, our report shows that 86 percent of respondents would pay more for a residential service if that companies online review profile had more positive reviews and a higher ranking than other similar companies.
Simply put, a business that can build trust through positive reviews, can turn their online review profile into a revenue generator.
It’s easy to get caught up in which online review sites are most popular and which customer segments are using them most, but it’s equally important to include what information customers are looking for in these conversations.
Our study points to the fact that there are two key factors that consumers are evaluating when looking up a plumber, electrician, or other home service provider on a review site.
Our data indicates 87 percent of respondents are looking for the quality of service these service companies offer. This would include customer service as well as how well they fix the problems they’ve been hired to fix.
Additionally, 78 percent of respondents are looking for the cost of services.
These factors themselves may not come as a surprise, but it’s the clear majority of responses we received here that business owners should be aware of if they want to improve their online reviews profile.
First and foremost, residential service companies need to be present on these sites. They need to build out their profiles with the information that their customers will be looking for.
Next, they need be sure they’re constantly delivering review-worthy customer experiences and encourage customers to leave reviews.
The importance of the quality of customer service can not be overstated enough, since it’s the easiest way to turn an average customer into an online advocate for a business.
I’d say the last step is to have a voice on these sites. Companies should respond to a negative Yelp review if there’s a solution they can offer.
Then, once they have a robust online profile, they should drive current and potential customers there.
If you have comments or would like to obtain access to any of the charts or graphs above, be sure to check out the full report from Software Advice.
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