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October 6, 2021

The 2021 ReviewTrackers Industry Benchmark Report

Creating an online reputation analysis based on the words of a customer can have a major effect on a brand’s success. Their review of the experience impacts not just the overall rating, but also customer acquisition and customer retention efforts. Brands can use their own ratings and reviews, as well as those throughout the industry, to compare their performance to competitors. Based on those findings, organizations can make the necessary strategies to improve operations and continue to stay well ahead of the competition.

To that end, we at ReviewTrackers gathered various points of review data over the past year to provide our first annual Industry Benchmark Report.

Methodology

Industry benchmark and online reputation analysis data was gathered from a 12-month period spanning from Q2 2020 to the end of Q1 2021. The graphs featured are a result of data collected from ReviewTrackers customers and other businesses (thanks to our competitive landscape analysis feature called Competitors). The ReviewTrackers data consists of 25 million keywords from over 48,000 different locations and the Competitors data consists of 49 million keywords from over 36,000 locations.

Online Reputation Analysis Part 1: The Industry Averages

To get a clear understanding of the landscape across all industries, we first gathered a set of averages across multiple metrics such as overall rating, total number of reviews, and response rate from the data set mentioned above. This allows brands to compare themselves to current trends, which help create new strategies that improve the customer experience, boost customer retention, and outperforms the competition.

These insights also include noteworthy metrics such as review response rate and time, which is crucial for customer acquisition strategies and customer retention efforts. We’re also including our Experience Analysis data, which uses natural language processing to categorize review keywords into positive or negative sentiments. When combined together, these data points reveal vital trends for each industry, and drive awareness to specific areas of improvement within your own operations.

Automotive

On average, the automotive industry has a rating of 3.92 out of 5, which is impressive when you consider that each location on average collects nearly 260 reviews every month. However, only 58% of those reviews actually get any response from the brand. Those responses take about 8-9 days to reach the customer, which is not optimal in light of customer reviews data, which shows that 53% of consumers expect a review response within 7 days.

In terms of review sentiment, the most positive sentiment is toward overall service. In other words, consumers are mostly happy about the services provided by the brand. Sentiment is split 50-50 when it comes to value.

 

Automotive industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.9

Reviews
per location per month
259

Response rate58.0%

Response time8.8 days

Takeaways

Automotive brands should strive to continue their quality of service both during and after a customer visits. When feedback does come in, teams need to learn how to respond to negative reviews in a timely manner that satisfies the consumer and prevents them from going to a competitor. That feedback should then be analyzed with new technologies, such as natural language processing via Experience Analysis to gain important insights that can improve operations.

Consumer Services

A 4 out of 5 rating might be impressive for any consumer service organization, but customer reviews data shows that people expect to see an average of 112 reviews to confirm a business’s overall rating. On average, ReviewTrackers data shows that each location only brings in 60 reviews each month. In addition, the response rate is at 51% and it takes almost 10 days to respond to reviews.

From a review standpoint, consumers have a positive sentiment of more than 70% towards the brand’s product, service, and location. In terms of value, 52.39% marked it as a factor in their experience.

 

Consumer services industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating4.0

Reviews
per location per month
60

Response rate51.3%

Response time9.9 days

Takeaways

In short, consumer service brands should monitor the competition to effectively compete for the best price. However, price point isn’t the sole limiting factor. Brand managers need to boost online presence by asking for reviews and quickly responding to both positive and negative feedback to stay competitive and drive customer loyalty.

Education

Educational organizations bring in a low average of 29.68 reviews every month, resulting in a rating of 3.83 out of 5. A smaller portion of reviews, however, means that responses are vital to online reputation. Thankfully, the industry has a 70.81% response rate.

Many reviews seem to be satisfied about the location and facilities of education organizations (76.42% positive). On the flip side, only 36.47% of value-based keywords were positive, which puts the industry as one of the 3 weakest performers in that specific keyword category.

 

Education industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.8

Reviews
per location per month
30

Response rate70.8%

Response time7.9 days

Takeaways

To get a better idea of the overall experience, education groups need to start asking for reviews more often. By gathering a larger data set, institutions can get a better idea of what specific portions of overall value need reconsideration to make curriculums and activities more appealing to potential students and their families. Organizations can also find the best reviews in that set and use tools like Amplify to promote them to attract students and families alike. Genuine and positive feedback is the social proof people need to make important purchasing decisions.

Entertainment

The entertainment industry heavily relies on reviews to determine if the show goes on as evidenced by a high average of 222.28 reviews collected every month. The industry averages a 3.96 out of 5 rating as result, which tells us that there is room for brands in the entertainment industry to leverage consumer feedback to help create desirable experiences.

 

Entertainment industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating4.0

Reviews
per location per month
222

Response rate44.4%

Response time11 days

Takeaways

For an industry that generates a good amount of monthly feedback, the response rate is fairly low at 44.35%. Furthermore, it takes around 11 days on average to respond to feedback. There is an opportunity for the entertainment industry to improve their online reputation by automating their response strategy, and digging into the feedback left, to improve experiences.

Financial Services

On average the financial services industry brings in a 3.79 rating out of 5, 25.92 reviews per month, and a low response rate of only 44.35%. Despite the low metric performances, financial brands are quick to respond to feedback with an average of 4-5 days.

 

Financial services industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.8

Reviews
per location per month
26

Response rate56.7%

Response time4.9 days

Takeaways

Special attention must be paid specifically to a financial business’s customer base, especially if they want to improve review metrics. Organizations need to find ways to start asking for reviews and take steps to gauge the customer experience. People are more than willing to go to a financial competitor if they have better offerings and an experience that treats the consumer with courtesy.

Healthcare

Despite the many people who have medical appointments, surgeries, and other procedures, the industry only brings in 38.67 reviews for a monthly average while only responding to 42.14% of feedback. There is an opportunity for the healthcare industry to automate review requests post-appointment to ensure they are providing a level of care that meets patient needs.

 

Healthcare industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.8

location per month39

Response rate42.1%

Response time9.7 days

Takeaways

Gathering more reviews and responding to both positive and negative reviews would yield better insights, specifically on the fact that patient-based keywords only have a 24.42% positive sentiment among reviews. People are complaining about their overall patient experience, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect across the industry. Getting a larger sample of feedback and using review sentiment data to create a better patient experience can yield happier patients that will refer their doctors and healthcare organizations to family and friends.

Hospitality

Pleasing the customer is a staple in hospitality, and the industry as a whole is on track based on its 3.79 out 5 overall rating, and the fact that brands in the hospitality industry gather around 198.43 reviews on average per month. The review response rate is at 35.85%, and it takes nearly a week to get back to customers.

 

Hospitality industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.7

Reviews
per location per month
198

Response rate35.9%

Response time6.9 days

Takeaways

Even though brands are getting back to consumers in a timely manner, they need to engage with more customers after the point of sale to increase customer retention. There is an opportunity for the hospitality industry to drive loyalty by engaging with their customers via reviews. Consumers generally like the experience and product, but in some cases, it does not meet their expectations for the best “bang for the buck.” By taking time to increase customer engagement in reviews, hospitality brands can discover the ideal price to place on their services while also staying competitive with industry rivals.

Insurance

The insurance industry has low review volume, but an impressive average rating. Specifically, the 4.01 out of 5 overall rating is overshadowed by the low monthly average of 19.33 reviews gathered. The review response rate is only at 35.98% and it takes an average of 19-20 days to just respond to feedback. With the reviews that are on hand, most of the keyword sentiment skews positive, but location-, value-, and customer-based keywords are only slightly positive with each category at over 50% positive.

 

Insurance industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating4.0

Reviews
per location per month
19

Response rate36.0%

Response time19.7 days

Takeaways

Insurance brands need to do some heavy lifting to increase their reputation performance to better stand out from competitors, and increase customer retention in the insurance industry. Gathering reviews is vital to success, but so is engaging with feedback after it is posted. The positive tendency in sentiment as well as a high overall rating also suggest that only satisfied customers are posting reviews. Organizations need to have a better picture of their insurance customer experience, even if it comes from negative reviews. This gives teams a chance to find flaws in the operation and make the necessary changes that lead to happier and loyal customers.

Legal

Like other industries, legal groups seem to suffer from low reviews as well with only 35.33 reviews gathered monthly. The response rate is low as well – 38.25% – and it takes more than two weeks to respond to client feedback. The industry also has the lowest positive sentiment for value-based keywords out of all industries in this report at 33.02%.

 

Legal industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.9

Reviews
per location per month
35

Response rate38.3%

Response time15.2 days

Takeaways

Regardless of the outcome of each case, firms should still take time to reach out for feedback to see where staff can improve the experience and alleviate operational issues. Showing reviews of satisfied clients is also vital to attracting new clients. Using review promotion tools like Amplify can help sway clients to specific firms

Real Estate

In terms of online reputation, the real estate industry needs work. It has a 3.62 out of 5 overall average rating yet only garners about 51.36 reviews a month. It also takes over 11 days to respond to a review, and the industry as a whole only responds 58.12% of the time. Shopping for real estate can be complicated and lengthy, and real estate groups need to have a better pulse on review acquisition and customer engagement as a whole.

 

Real estate industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.6

Reviews
per location per month
51

Response rate58.1%

Response time11 days

Takeaways

With a review monitoring process in place, real estate teams would notice that the largest detriment to their online reputation is in reviews. When preparing a strategy to combat real estate brand rivals, organizations must look at ways to stand out by letting their happiest customers tell their story through reviews. Using Amplify to show off your best pieces of feedback goes a long way to attracting more prospective buyers.

Restaurant

The restaurant business has a strong review acquisition strategy in place as evidenced by the 263.03 monthly review average. However, the industry needs to know how to respond to negative restaurant reviews, or for that matter, reviews in general. A 34.33% response rate is not ideal for restaurants who want to know if their current offerings and experience meets expectations.

 

Restaurant industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.7

Reviews
per location per month
263

Response rate34.3%

Response time5.1 days

Takeaways

The low response rate needs to be rectified. Only by spending more time engaging with reviews and discovering the root cause of customer unhappiness can brands begin to create experiences and food that diners will actually enjoy. Doubling down on keyword analysis technology like Experience Analysis can also uncover key parts of a review that can show whether or not restaurants are meeting or failing expectations in the current iteration of the dining experience.

Retail

The continued rise in online shopping has spurred retail brands into asking for more reviews. In fact, it has a monthly of 201.92 reviews per location. Unfortunately, the high review count doesn’t count for much in the light of a 47.12% review response rate.

 

Retail industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.8

Reviews
per location per month
202

Response rate47.1%

Response time5.3 days

Takeaways

Asking for reviews might not be an issue for brands, but procedures need to be implemented that enable better brand-to-consumer engagement, especially when it comes to reviews. If retail organizations also took time to converse with those who criticized the value of their products and services, they might have an easier time creating products that constantly bring in revenue and create a loyal customer base.

Software

When companies release a software product, they turn to users for feedback on how to improve on future iterations. Unfortunately, the software industry needs an upgrade in the way it asks for feedback. A 34.18% response rate and an average of 48.37 reviews gathered per month are nothing to boast about, especially when it comes to customer acquisition. On top of that these brands take anywhere between 14-15 days to respond to reviews.

 

Software industry

Review keyword sentiment analysis (higher percentage indicates more positive sentiment)

Average rating3.7

Reviews
per location per month
48

Response rateResponse rate

Response time14.8 days

Takeaways

Taking the time to look closer at reviews (especially negative feedback) with Experience Analysis can show issues in the UX, design, and overall execution of a product. These insights can yield the changes necessary that can help a software company create products that can become necessary to everyday life.

Online Reputation Analysis Part 2: The Industry Leaders

In addition to industry-specific averages, we also gathered similar data on the top 10% of brands across the same industries. However, instead of going into detail within each industry, we will compare performance across all industries to give you an idea of what to strive for to create powerful strategies that can make your organization an industry leader.

Industry Leader Criteria

  • Ratings and Reviews
  • Response Time and Rate
  • The Customer Sentiment

Ratings and Reviews

At a glance, the insurance industry leads the pack with the highest rating of 4.86 stars though it still has the lowest volume of reviews (more on that later). On the other end of the spectrum was the legal industry, which had the lowest overall rating at 4.18. What this shows is that a 4-star rating is achievable in every industry, which is a more realistic goal than the unattainable 5-star rating.

In terms of review count, it still ranks in the tens for a few industries, but that doesn’t mean that you just need a handful of reviews every month to be in the elite tier. To get a 4.0+ star rating, the restaurant and automotive industries had to collect an average of over 200 reviews per location every month. While there isn’t a magic number of reviews to reach, it’s worth repeating that customer reviews data shows that consumers expect at least 112 reviews to verify an overall rating. A review request strategy is sorely needed for some industries in order to get the insights needed to effectively compete in their respective space.

Note: the top 2.5% of brands in each industry were not included in this section because their review volume greatly skewed the data in some industries.

Response Time and Rate

The main differentiator, then, between the middle of the pack and these top performers is in their response rate. Most industries responded frequently, specifically between 89% – 96%. The only outlier in the group were the legal organizations, which had a 67.6% response rate.

In addition to a high response rate, every single industry in the 90th percentile responded to reviews in less than a week. By responding to customers in a timely manner, they sent a message that the voice of the customer was heard loud and clear whether it was in praise or criticism, which showed how much each brand valued its customers whether or not they enjoyed the current experience.

The Customer Sentiment

Even among the top performers, people’s experiences are dominant in reviews as evidenced by our Experience Analysis findings. Service-based keywords had high positive sentiment in a majority of industries ranging between 81%-95% in overall positive sentiment. Once again, keywords surrounding value topics had the smallest percentage of positive sentiment when compared to other keywords for each industry.

Sentiment for healthcare and restaurant industries differed slightly. Within healthcare, the most positive sentiment at 91.37% was for “bedside manner” topics while patient-based keywords only had a 61.66% positive sentiment. Patients appreciated the care of the staff as they recovered or were getting ready for a procedure.

For restaurants, diners mostly mentioned the atmosphere in a favorable light (82.29% positive sentiment), but many didn’t include the value as a key part of their experience.

Without the Experience Analysis data above, it would be difficult for brands to figure out where to concentrate their efforts to improve operations. With sentiment analysis you know exactly where to put time and money that can lead to satisfied customers and a higher online reputation.

Online Reputation Analysis Part 3: The Differentiators

Now that you know what separates the industry leaders from the rest of the field, it is time to dig deeper and find out how they did it. In some cases, the boost in performance came from using reputation management software like ReviewTrackers.

Overall, insurance brands that used ReviewTrackers gained 117.72 more reviews on average every month compared to their counterparts who were not using the software. Top performers in the same industry that used ReviewTrackers also gained 50.18 more reviews per month. The same trend is also present among most hospitality brands in our data. Overall, hospitality groups using ReviewTrackers saw 118.26 more reviews while top performers in the same industry that used ReviewTrackers received an additional 100.62 reviews than companies that weren’t using the platform.

In other words, these brands created strategies that fit within their internal processes. As a result, they received more reviews without being intrusive, or complicating the entire workflow for the brand and customer. By asking for reviews with powerful features such as the Ask Tool, organizations can create review request campaigns with a few clicks and use templates that are personalized for each customer. Customer reviews data shows that only 28% of consumers will leave a review after a positive experience, and using these templates makes review outreach easier for both the brand and customer.

With a well-planned review request strategy, brands can leverage email, SMS messages, or QR codes to effectively reach out to the customer and ask for their thoughts on the experience.

With natural language processing, ReviewTrackers customers also easily leveraged Experience Analysis features to highlight specific reviews and get the proper context that forces the customer to publish positive or negative feedback.

We mentioned earlier that value-based keywords usually had the lowest percentage of sentiment across multiple industries. However, ReviewTrackers customers in some of those industries had higher sentiment averages for value-based keywords. These brands are taking advantage of Experience Analysis to hone in on specific issues within the customer experience that will fuel new strategies that can help drive loyalty and retention.

Seeing reviews in this light helps brands find the right data to support unique and effective approaches to customer acquisition and retention. In the long run, these insight-driven plans streamline operations, change the customer experience for the better, and turn your loyal customers into powerful advocates for the brand.

Conclusion

By adopting best practices, brands have an opportunity to drive more revenue and win their market. Listening, engaging, and acting on customer feedback brands can improve or create customer experiences that can easily attract customers and keep them on as loyal advocates for the long run.