Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, and with it so too is the use and significance of reviews. It’s our job to understand this evolution in detail, so we conducted a survey to establish the state or reviews in 2021 - here’s a look at what we found. 
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Download PDF Survey - 2021 State of Reviews

The survey took place on April 9th 2020, with the specific aim of gaining insights from both a customer and brand perspective. 2,631 consumers and 155 business leaders were quizzed on the importance of reviews, review behaviour, new opportunities and expectations, review creation and reputation management. You can download the full report here.

The findings help us understand two very important things. First, how COVID-19 is impacting consumer buying behaviour, and the increasingly influential role reviews play in purchase decisions. Second, how brands are approaching reputation management, and how we as a service provider can help them better meet customer expectations.

So what key points can we take from the survey?

Transparency and Authenticity are Key

A string of glowing reviews and a perfect 5 star rating will not convince a customer to convert. In fact, they mistrust it. What they’re after is objectivity and a balanced view, and are actually 5x more likely to filter 1 star than 5 star reviews. Brands need to be fully transparent and publish all customer feedback, regardless of star rating. 

In addition, one clear message from our survey is that for true credibility, brands need both review quantity and quality. Consumers now look deeper into review content, judging it in terms or recency, relevance, and authenticity. For real value, brands should consider using review attributes to capture product insights, and collecting UGC like video reviews to drive engagement.  

Responding to Customers Matter More Than Anything

The way in which a business responds to the reviews they receive is highly significant - particularly the less favourable ones - with 90% of consumers saying they read replies to negative reviews. 

They want evidence of ownership and an indication of how brands treat their customers when things go wrong. Businesses have really had to step up their game in this respect over the last year, particularly those like ticketing service Skiddle.

Skiddle put customer service first and hit 10k reviews, maintaining their star rating despite so many variables outside of their control. It’s a great example of how to handle negative reviews, and one others should take note of given the impact a considered response can have on brand perception. 

Reputation Management is a Team Effort

From a business perspective, the survey clearly shows more brands are taking a proactive approach to reputation management. And whilst marketing remains the role primarily responsible for this, it’s becoming more of a cross team effort. 

We’ve seen this in practice, and last year made it possible to add multiple users to all review accounts, as more of our customers began to realise that a good consumer experience stems from a team effort across multiple departments.

Brands Need to Actively Encourage Reviews

Though 94% of consumers surveyed said reviews do have a level of influence on their purchase decisions, over half of them admitted to only leaving reviews four times a year or less. 

This proves how important a review collection strategy is for business growth. Brands that are passive about review collection are likely to only receive feedback off the back of a bad experience, with their happy customers far less inclined to publicly comment unless prompted. 

By contrast, those that use a best-of-breed tech stack - integrating solutions that cover the whole buyer journey - both streamline the process of proactive review collection, and provide a positive experience that’s mirrored in the feedback they receive. 

The Future of Reviews

With review publication more important than ever, we’re intent on giving brands more options and more control, with upgrades to our now fully customisable widgets and innovative tools like our social proof editor

What this survey gives us is a greater idea of where to focus our attention. It provides the first hand user insight needed to stay ahead of the curve with a platform that delivers. 

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2023 State of Reviews

Changes in Consumer Buying Behaviour

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