Yes. Yes, they do.

No matter what kind of business you’re running, from a plumbing company to a niche retail outlet to an ecommerce business, reviews matter.

Most businesses, particularly most small businesses, rely on word-of-mouth and referrals to drive new customers to their business. In the digital age, reviews are the new word-of-mouth. Let’s look at some data.

According to Fan & Fuel, 97% – NINETY-SEVEN PERCENT! – of customers say that reviews factor into their buying decisions. And it’s not just easy star/numerical reviews, either. 73% say that written reviews make more of an impression on them than star/number reviews, and 94% say they typically read written reviews. Reviews matter!

Online Customer Review Matter Five Star

Negative reviews stick out

This may seem obvious (or at least it should be obvious!), but the reviews need to be positive. 35% of the respondents said that just one negative review can make them decide not to buy. To maintain your star or number rating following one bad review, you will need at least four positive reviews, and likely more.

What makes this particularly difficult is that unhappy customers are much more likely to leave a negative review than a happy customer is to leave a positive review. On average, about one in 10 satisfied customers are going to leave a positive review, and even getting that rate requires a good deal of work. This means you will need at least 40 satisfied customers to overcome just one negative review.

Keeping customers happy is key

It can be tempting to just write off a difficult customer as being a bad egg and settle for simply losing their business, but sadly that’s rarely where it ends. In fact, dissatisfied customers will typically tell anywhere from nine to 15 other people about their experience and may tell as many as 20 or more according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.

Even if you have a niche business, the likelihood is great that your customers will be speaking to other prospective customers of yours. That means one unhappy customer – even if they don’t write a review – could cost you 10 or more future customers. If they do write a review, that number can reach the hundreds or more.

Gifts can grow fandom

Small gestures to your customers – even the unhappy ones – can make a big impact on your bottom line. For example, making the decision to refund a customer’s money if they are not completely satisfied, even if that’s not your stated policy, can leave a lasting mark on the relationship. Actions like that can turn an angry, dissatisfied customer into someone that might even refer your business to others because they are confident you will treat other customers well.

At Rhino Fleet Tracking, we subscribe to the philosophies laid out in John Ruhlin’s Giftology, where keeping customers happy and even surprising them with unexpected gifts can turn your customers into fans of your company.

Time is of the essence

In a report by Zendesk, 69% of respondents attributed good customer to service to quick resolution of their problem, while 72% attributed bad customer service to having to explain their problem to multiple people. When dealing with unhappy customers or customers facing issues with your service, fast resolution is critical to preserving a positive relationship, even if you can’t save the sale.

Empowering your customer service team to take extraordinary measures, to make sure the customer exits the experience satisfied, is well worth the cost. For most customers, it doesn’t take a lot (cost-wise) to demonstrate that your company is more interested in resolving their problem than preserving every last penny on the bottom line.

Satisfied Customer

Customer service makes the difference

Most customers that receive the product or service that they purchased in a way that met their expectations are unlikely to post a positive review or spread the word about your company because meeting their expectations should be, well, expected. Customers that seek customer support for an issue, however, are much more likely to share about the experience, good or bad.

In fact, according to the aforementioned Zendesk report, 95% of customers will share a bad customer service story, while 87% will share a good experience. Not only that, but 54% will share those bad experiences with more than five people! Most importantly: 88% of respondents have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.

In conclusion…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that good online customer reviews matter, but it’s difficult to overstate just how much they matter. Hopefully this data will help you understand just how valuable those reviews are, and how taking small steps to ensure a positive customer experience can drive future sales, and prevent future sales from being lost!

If you’re looking for a vehicle tracking solution with 5-star customer support, then look no further than Rhino Fleet Tracking (check out our reviews on Capterra). Give us a call and talk to one of our friendly team members today!