Positive OTA reviews affect bookings more than negative ones, new research finds

Over two-thirds of online reviewers only post feedback after a positive experience with a business, new research from TrueLocal suggests.

Ruth Trewhella, Group Manager of TrueLocal, says, “Australians are more inclined to give positive feedback, with 67 per cent of respondents revealing they only write reviews after a positive experience.

“Our findings debunk a belief among many businesses that reviews are used by the public to vent about their experiences. In reality, just 6 per cent of reviewers admitted to doing so.”

“While you’d imagine that Aussies would draw on negative reviews to help them choose a business, the opposite is true. Our research found 82 per cent of those surveyed say glowing reviews, not negative ones, made their purchasing decisions easier,” Ms Trewhella adds.

Meanwhile, more than half of reviewers need to be ‘furious’ before reviewing a business negatively online. Most respondents admitted that negative emotions would need to run extremely high to motivate them to post a negative write-up. Fifty-six per cent said an experience would need to leave them ‘furious’ before they’d review negatively, and a further 16 per cent would need to be ‘annoyed’.

For positive reviews, 36 per cent would need to be ‘happy’ and a further 30 per cent ‘satisfied’ with an experience before giving positive feedback.

Fuming customers write long reviews

Proving that emotions are high when people tap out a negative write-up, further TrueLocal research found that reviewers use nearly twice as many words when penning negative reviews. Highly positive (five-star) write-ups were short and sweet, averaging 55 words; while negative reviews were verbose at 83 and 95 words for two- and one-star ratings, respectively.

Ms Trewhella adds, “While the public finds positive feedback more relevant, businesses should not ignore negative reviews, as they offer a window into the areas of their product or service that may need improvement. It’s really important to respond to negative reviews as doing so demonstrates to consumers that the business is committed to improving customer service.”

5 tips for taking customers from satisfied to delighted according to TrueLocal:

1. Follow Up – Online reviews give valuable feedback. TrueLocal has found that consumers are more likely to use a business where the business publicly responded to a negative review to resolve the issue. Communicate with your customers at all times, even when they’re unhappy, and your online reputation is likely to improve.

2. Service, service, service – TrueLocal revealed that just six per cent of customers use reviews to vent. Customers are seldom motivated by spite; most reviews give valuable information about the service you offer.

3. Call me – A personal courtesy call after a job to ensure everything went well can reap rewards. Resolving any issues that arise in a personal way can keep your customers loyal.

4. Keep it personal – Use simple customer relationship management software to keep customer details on file including needs, wants and regular requests.

5. Gifting works – Gifts on special dates such as a customer’s birthday or Australia Day go down well. Coffee vouchers or business-focussed rewards such as discount vouchers for future services are popular options. Small businesses tend to baulk at the idea of giving gifts, but a coffee voucher could cost $5 and it will make your customers feel special and appreciated.



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