The pandemic has changed the way we do business and the way consumers interact with businesses. With much of commerce now forced onto the internet, it is no surprise that the average consumer has developed far more discerning practices with regard to how they spend their money. Surveys have shown that 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses to help them make decisions about purchasing. That makes online reputation management tool an even greater challenge for entrepreneurs and smaller local enterprises.
COVID-19’s effect on reviews
In 2020 alone, over 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business, with 34% of them searching every day. The global health crisis came to a head in 2020, resulting in 67% of consumers saying they would not go to a business if the reviews say they are not following health and safety measures.
Considerations about risk to life and health were now common subjects in much of customer feedback, making it an important concern in the operations of a business.
Customers also wrote reviews in 2020 to help businesses that they perceived to be struggling due to the pandemic—22% to be more exact. It only shows that when a customer finds a business they care for, they do what they can to keep it alive.
Other statistics in 2020
Other things consumers watched out for were the star rating, legitimacy of the reviews, how recent the reviews were, and so on. It was also apparent that restaurants, hotels, medical facilities, automotive shops, and clothing stores were the things consumers read reviews most frequently for.
More surveys showed that 48% of consumers would not consider using a business with ratings fewer than 4 stars, and that an average of 72% of Americans have written a review for a local business in the last year. More and more people have begun to rely on reviews as a good feedback system for gauging the viability of a business as an option.
Another factor that often plays into consumer decisions is responses to these reviews. 20% of consumers expect to receive a response within one day when writing one, whether negative or positive. Essentially, customers also like it when they are made to feel like their feedback matters.
The need for online reputation management rises
Online reputation management has always been a practice of successful businesses and businesses that hope to be successful, but developments in 2020 have shown that it is now a necessity in 2021. Consumers expect responses, expect to have their feedback valued, and expect to be heard.
Without the right tools and strategies, you might end up driving a wedge between your local business and the local community.
Business practices in marketing and reputation management are constantly evolving. While some practices may end up as mere fads, plenty remain relevant to this day. As such, it is important to keep abreast of these trends and patterns in consumer behavior so you can respond properly to any changes that may come.
If you need an online reputation management tool to help with your reviews, send us at Rephub a message. While you can’t always control what your customers might say about you, the right tools can still give you a hand on the wheel.