An Uberall study finds customers want personalized responses to online reviews.
Brand feedback to customer comments is increasingly important to shoppers, a new study found.
Uberall Inc. announced the results of its “Customer Review Report,” analyzing how shoppers evaluate brick-and-mortar store reviews online. For the study, Uberall commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. The study was conducted from Oct. 1-5, 2018.
While consumers are the ones posting online customer reviews, brands are closely monitoring what’s being said. But should they actually respond to reviews? The study set out to find out what shoppers expect.
Sixty-five percent of respondents believe that they should respond every time, whether the review is positive or negative. In addition, 18% believe they should respond only when the review is negative, while 10% feel they should never respond and 6% think they should only respond when the review is positive.
“It’s critical for brands to have a proactive voice in these conversations,” said Josha Benner, Uberall co-founder. “Ready-to-buy shoppers aren’t just looking for positive online reviews—they’re actually evaluating the quality of an in-store experience based on online responsiveness.”
When asked how personalized a store’s responses should be to a customer review, 78% said that there should be some personalization. Forty-nine percent said responses should be “somewhat personalized,” while 29% said “very personalized.” Just 13% said “not very personalized” and 9% said “not personalized.”
“People simply aren’t going to be satisfied with a generic response from a store,” Benner said. “Some individualization is required to show that the brand cares about the customer. These results perfectly demonstrate why platforms like Google and Yelp spend so much energy on enforcing that businesses post personal responses versus generic, meaningless ones.”
When asked how likely they would be to shop at a store that responds to online reviews, 86% said they would be more likely. Of that group, 47% said “somewhat more likely,” while 39% said “more likely.” Only 8% said “somewhat less likely” while 6% said “not likely.”
“Consumers prefer businesses who care about them, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that personal responses to reviews show just that to consumers who research a business,” said Benner. “Responding to reviews is great for brand perception which leads to more new customers and repeat business from existing ones.”
Many Customers Check Store Reviews
When asked how often the survey’s respondents check customer reviews to help them figure out where to shop, 57% said occasionally, while 19% said “all the time.” Seventeen percent said “rarely” and 7% said “very rarely.”
“Most people are checking store reviews to pick where to shop,” said Benner. “Virtually 20% are checking them all the time, while almost 60% do so with some regularity. I anticipate that there will be greater growth for those who always check, as more brands invest in driving eyeballs to their reviews, given the ROI they can deliver.”
When asked about the importance of online customer reviews for a store, 74% cited them as either “moderately important” (40%) or “very important” (34%). Just 20% said “slightly important” and 6% said they were “not important.”
“Customer reviews are important, period,” added Benner. “Three-quarters of those surveyed said they were either very or fairly influential. With so many options out there, stores live or die based on their ratings.”
What’s a Positive Review?
The idea of what constitutes a positive review varies. Uberall’s discovered that 39% consider “4.0 and up” a positive review. Other responses include: “3.5 and up” (20%), “4.5 and up” (15%), “5.0” (13%), “3.0 and up” (8%), “1.5 and up” (3%), “2.5 and up” (2%) and “2.0 and up” (1%).
“A plurality of people think a positive review has to be a 4.0 or up,” said Benner. “This isn’t a surprise. Brands need to keep this in mind when evaluating their online presence. If you have a store with a rating under 4.0, that’s not good enough anymore.”
Uberall is a global leader in location marketing technology.