Online Reviews Are Essential For Consumers, Report Reveals

As businesses are dealing with tough competition and economic challenges, CMOs and marketing leaders are seeking effective strategies to drive ROI and promote growth. Reputation management and brand intelligence company Chatmeter has conducted a consumer survey revealing that online reviews have enormous potential to boost a brand's reputation.

"Consumers see online reviews as a two-way dialogue. This study reinforces that reviews are a golden opportunity for brands to strengthen their customer relationships. Consumers want to engage and want to do so across a multitude of platforms. It's critical for marketers to arm themselves with technology that can optimize both solicited and unsolicited customer feedback. Consumer preferences and habits are evolving, but the right tools can help translate the data into a direct competitive advantage," said Cynthia Sener, President, Go-to-Market, Chatmeter.

The survey included consumers who have used reviews to help their decision-making process, and as many as 94.5% of them have posted a review within the past year. The survey results highlight significant opportunities for businesses to leverage the power of online reviews in various ways. Some of them include:

➤ Brand loyalty with a two-way dialogue with consumers

➤ Brand trust with online review engagement and authenticity

➤ Brand innovation by leveraging channel and technology trends

➤ Brand intelligence by understanding customer feedback

➤ Brand growth through competitive intelligence

The survey also analyzed consumer behavior and opinions in four different industries: retail, restaurant, healthcare, and financial services. The results showed that consumers have varying expectations, needs, and level of trust, depending on the industry.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Online reviews have become an integral part of the decision-making process. Specifically, over 89% of the respondents use online reviews to assess the quality of products or services, while over 67% consider them a crucial factor in determining what to buy. Consumers also expect detailed information, such as pricing, features, options, and quality, from online reviews before making their final decision.

  • Financial review sites need a change: As little as 34% of respondents have faith in them.

  • Restaurant reviews have the most trust (69%).

  • Review punctuality is essential. Specifically, over 56% of the respondents believe a review must be posted within the past month to be considered relevant and trustworthy. In contrast, only 6% of the respondents believe that a review's posting time is unimportant.

  • Quantity of reviews is important. As many as 25% of respondents feel that seeing more than 20 reviews posted within the past two months is necessary to build trust, while 20% expect to see at least 11 reviews to consider them reliable.

  • Consumers are interested in new technology. Specifically, 39% of respondents like the idea of using technology like ChatGPT to access review information, and over 30% find the concept of brand reviews through an interactive Metaverse experience emerging.

  • New channels are appealing. Nearly 13% of respondents use gaming platforms like Roblox or games like Fortnite to seek out reviews, and over 20% leverage chat tools.

Most data available today is considered to be unstructured and scattered across various sources such as emails, social media, online reviews, photos, chats, and messages. How can brands leverage this information? Being responsive to customer feedback can significantly improve their reputation and profitability. According to the survey, 58% of respondents feel that acknowledging comments and promptly addressing customer issues is the key to building better customer relationships through online reviews. Finally, 76% would consider updating their negative review if a company satisfactorily resolved their complaint.