6 Key Stats About Online Reviews

Online reviews have become a trusted source of information that showcase a business’ brand, integrity, and authority, as the findings of a recent survey prove

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For many consumers, reading online reviews is now an ingrained step in their buying and hiring processes. Although home service businesses have traditionally marketed through word-of-mouth, online review management is a crucial (and now unavoidable) aspect of online marketing for plumbers.

If you aren’t working to request quality reviews from your satisfied customers, you’re leaving a lot of business on the table. A survey conducted in June by Click Sluice Digital Marketing, specifically about online reviews for home service businesses (including plumbers), revealed some eye-opening data. Here are six survey findings that highlight just how important it is to actively manage and maintain your online reviews.

#1. Over 40% of respondents said they would use Google to find a local home service business

42% of your prospective customers are looking for you specifically on Google. This was second only to the 44% of respondents who would ask a friend or family member. 

The gap between those who use Google and those who ask for a personal recommendation is swiftly closing, and this data represents a new era for home service businesses. If you don’t have an online presence, more than 40% of your prospects simply will not find you. 

Google has continued to dominate as an online reviewing platform for over a decade, it’s authority far surpassing competitors like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack.

#2. More than 90% of respondents would seek out and consider online reviews prior to hiring a home service business

Even though 44% of respondents said they would ask friends or family when seeking a home service business, a staggering 90% of them are looking at online reviews before they decide to hire a home service business.

This data indicates a new trend: Almost all of your customers are likely screening personal recommendations using online reviews. If your reviews don’t reflect positive experiences, you might not convert some of your word-of-mouth referrals.

#3. 63% of respondents trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

In other words, a majority of your prospects will treat online reviews as if they were written by someone they know.

#4. 70% of respondents would only consider hiring a local home service business if it had an online rating of 4 stars or more

Although this result was to be expected, many business owners struggle to maintain a high rating unless they have an online review strategy. It’s easy to slip below 4 stars if you only have a handful of positive reviews. Businesses with few reviews are often blindsided by negative reviews. If you don’t have a steady supply of positive online reviews to bolster your rating, a single negative review can easily tank your rating and drive business away.

Once your rating dips below 4 stars, your conversion rates (new customers) suffer dramatically. Only 13% of respondents said they would hire a home service business with 3 stars.

#5. 65% of respondents would overlook a negative review if the business had six to 10 positive reviews

Maintaining a 4- to 5-star rating invariably requires you to have a strategy to combat negative reviews. Negative reviews are a part of doing business, and the occasional bad review is not cause for alarm unless you don’t have positive reviews to counterbalance it and properly represent your expertise. 

The easiest way to offset negative reviews and keep your ratings high is to ask for reviews from every single one of your satisfied customers. You must have a procedure in place that showcases your skills, and shines light on how many of your customers had a positive experience with you.

Only 4.3% of respondents said that they wouldn’t hire a home service business if it had a single negative review, further underpinning the fact that negative reviews can be overcome by simply establishing a steady stream of positive reviews.

#6. 51% of participants would not hire a home service business if it didn’t have online reviews

If you don’t currently have a system in place to request online reviews, this survey result should inspire you to start. Simply ignoring online reviews and their significance does not work anymore. In doing so, you risk losing half of your prospective customers.

These results were no different for the group of respondents who would use a personal recommendation to find a plumber — 51.64% of them said they would not hire a business if it didn’t have any online reviews.

Online reviews act as social proof of your expertise and must be treated as such. It is no longer a profitable strategy for plumbing businesses to rely solely on personal references. Your marketing strategy must acknowledge and capitalize on this shift, or you risk leaving money on the table. The survey results highlight the need for an established process for requesting reviews from your customers. In doing so, you set yourself up to reach and convert far more prospects into paying customers.



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