Consumer opinion – we all know how important it is, but how much weight does it carry when we compare it to things like advertising and other forms of direct marketing? The answer is: a lot. A detailed report by Alterian titled “Your Brand: At Risk or Ready for Growth” shows that only 6 percent of U.S. consumers trust advertising. With so many consumers mistrusting paid media, where do they turn? It was also found that 87 percent of consumers consulted friends/family, professional reviews and online reviews when looking to research a product or service (rather than listening to advertising and promotions).
I am sure you are familiar with the graphic above – heck, we even add it to the end of each of our blog posts (feel free to rate this one 5 stars below). With the Internet as the major driving force, consumers are turning more and more to consumer reviews on products and services before they purchase – a point that is illustrated well here in our feedback cycle. This demand for product reviews is something we in the Bunker have seen validated over and over with all of our B2C focus groups in Syracuse, NY. Now, more than ever, consumers can easily jump online and review the ratings for a product, service, restaurant, book, movie, etc. It’s all literally and figuratively at their fingertips. Because of this, Google gives preferences for sites that provide this information and put it right in their face. Don’t believe me?
- Let’s do a Google search for a new business book you are thinking about purchasing titled Rework: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Rework
- Second, let’s do a Google search for the new movie release – The Fighter: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=The+Fighter
See any rating scales high up on those searches?
Which websites use customer review ratings scales? Places like major online stores, online directories, Google maps and Google places all use clear-cut, 5-star rating systems. Most include comment areas, which allow for in-depth reviews written by customers. This is something not only relevant to national products, but will even apply to something as little as local car repair spots. Inevitably, consumers will find reviews on your products and services – there’s no hiding. Ultimately, as we mentioned above, people (to the tune of 94 percent or more) are more likely to trust reviews from a fellow consumer over the company itself.
Without properly understanding what drives customer satisfaction, through an avenue such as market research, businesses may not gain the edge they need to compete. If you have a bad product or service and customers post poor reviews online, it’s going to take an awfully long time to turn the tide. Even worse – those poor reviews that are voted on as “most helpful” – they’re not going anywhere and your online reputation for a bad product is there to stay unless you begin making actionable improvements. Conducting customer research is not only a way to help prevent these issues from happening in the first place, but also provides a way to bring resolve to these issues after the fact. Market research is a critical step to the overall improvement of customer satisfaction and loyalty. First understand, and then act.
Are you a small business who is looking to engage the consumer and gain control of customer feedback? Give our Director of Business Development a call at 315-635-9802 or email Sandy at SandyB@RMSresults.com.