How many business owners are investing enough time and energy to track business reviews and manage their online reputation?
Not a lot, apparently. Especially not small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners.
In an alarming report by local marketing news site Street Fight, only 13 percent of SMB owners are actively managing online reviews on sites like Facebook, Google+ Local, Angie’s List, Yelp, and CitySearch. Based on the results of a recent Yodle survey, the report reveals that – even in an age when about 90 percent of consumers rely on online reviews as an important factor in making purchase decisions – a large number of businesses continue to underestimate the importance of these reviews.
According to Street Fight reporter Annie Melton, the report “does not consider the survey to be applicable to small businesses in general – restaurants, which generate heavy activity on review sites, were not included – the findings were enough to indicate a sobering disconnect between businesses and their customer bases, despite a broad acknowledgment of the importance of the Internet in customer retention and acquisition.”
Here are some of the other interesting findings from the study:
- Approximately 55 percent of SMB owners don’t receive reviews at all, while only one in five – or 19 percent – receive just one to five reviews per month on average.
- Only 43 percent of respondents said they actually respond to reviews. Moreover, 68 percent don’t even spend time tracking their business reviews and monitoring the review sites for whatever customers may be saying about them.
- SMB owners continue to perceive a problem with the authenticity and fairness of reviews. In fact, 61 percent think that review sites and ratings aggregators favor businesses that pay to advertise with them, while only 10 percent don’t believe that to be the case.
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