Earning Five Stars: Franchises that want to be in front of customers and build a positive experience should prioritize online review management.

Author:Wenzl, Megan
 
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More than 63 percent of consumers report that they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business, making Google the main space for online reviews in 2018.

This information, collected in a recent ReviewTrackers survey, shows trends in online reviews, in two parts: the first part is based on a U.S.-based consumer panel with a survey of 463 respondents, the second part offers an analysis of nine million reviews across more than 100 review sites during the past eight years.

From the second part of the survey, ReviewTrackers found that Google is also the No. 1 site where consumers leave reviews. The takeaway is clear: franchises need to actively watch their online reviews, especially on Google. Another key finding is that businesses are missing opportunities to meet consumer expectations: 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. However, 63 percent of consumers say that a business has never responded to their review. What does this mean? Customers expect franchises to engage with them in online reviews, but in 2018 many franchises are still falling short.

How much more likely are you to visit a local business if the business owner responds to negative reviews? not more likely 18.2% neutral 37.2% more likely 44.6% Note: Table made from bar graph. This is especially true because 94 percent observed that a negative review has convinced them to avoid a business. If a franchise owner responds to those reviews, however, the damage can be undone: 45 percent of the consumers surveyed say they are more likely to visit a local business if the business owner responds to a negative review.

These statistics show why it's important for franchises to manage their online reviews: it's where customers are looking for new businesses and where businesses can use consumer insights to improve operations and make important decisions.

LOCATION

One of the most essential reasons to manage and monitor online reviews is to understand where your customers are online.

Approximately 80 percent of U.S. consumers look at reviews before making a purchase decision, according to YouGov. That's why it's important to have a location page for each franchise location, where consumers can leave reviews or read what other consumers are saying about their experience.

By optimizing your online review and local listing sites for each business location, your franchise will appear in more...

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