How Reviews Impact the Buyer Decision-Making Process

Online reviews are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to make buying decisions, and these reviews carry significant weight for a business’ reputation. Today, an online presence is an essential part of any marketing strategy. And, despite not being under their control, companies should treat online reviews as a crucial piece of their digital […]

Jackie
07/04/2019

Online reviews are becoming an increasingly popular way for people to make buying decisions, and these reviews carry significant weight for a business’ reputation. Today, an online presence is an essential part of any marketing strategy. And, despite not being under their control, companies should treat online reviews as a crucial piece of their digital footprint.

Understanding why and how buyers are impacted by reviews will help your business succeed in the digital world. Read on to find out what makes reviews so persuasive, and how you can use them to your company’s advantage.

People Like Me

When making purchasing decisions, whose opinion would you trust? The company’s CEO or a friend? Chances are, you’ll trust your friend because you value their input. But also, you know that they likely won’t gain anything by sharing their opinion.

What if that friend was actually a stranger behind a screen? Would you still trust their opinion? According to Edelman, the answer is yes. Recent findings suggest that “regular people” have more influence on opinions than those in positions of authority. And this applies even if you don’t know the person behind the review because we rely on others for guidance, whether we know it or not.

With the internet being saturated with ads and sponsored content, people are begging for real, unpaid opinions. Paid reviews and influencer content can be helpful in their own ways, but consumers are becoming increasingly wary of their truthfulness. Real reviews show buyers that other people in the same position have tried the product or service, boosting your business’ legitimacy, thus making consumers more likely to try it themselves.

No Such Thing as a First Impression

Before the internet, people relied on traditional word-of-mouth to find recommendations. This was, and still is, a powerful way for buyers to learn about businesses. But, it doesn’t leave buyers with a complete picture because it still leaves room for mystery and first impressions.

Now, the internet allows people to document every aspect of their lives, and reviews are no different. Many reviews on popular sites include pictures, videos and detailed descriptions of buyer experiences. And with 67% of B2B buyers relying more on peer recommendations when deciding the purchase, it’s likely that many buyers have developed a comprehensive opinion of your business before even experiencing it.

This can be good or bad. If the reviews of your business are overwhelmingly positive, then you should be celebrating! Good reviews are largely a motivating factor behind buyer decisions. But, sadly, a few aggressive keyboard warriors can easily ruin your chances with new buyers. Don’t let this scare you off though. B2B buyers would rather see a review with pros and cons listed than no review at all because they want to know exactly what they’re getting into.

It’s important for your business to actively monitor review sites and respond accordingly to issues as soon as possible. Doing this mitigates the potential for large-scale outrage and shows buyers that you are willing to provide personalized customer service.

The More Reviews, The Better?

Review sites have the potential to induce both good and bad viral moments. Positive reviews can boost SEO, making it easier for buyers to find your business and legitimizes your brand. Online reviews make up about 10% of a business’ rank on search engines. If these reviews are overwhelmingly positive, buyers are more likely to visit your website.

A surplus of positive reviews shows potential buyers that your business positively impacts many people. Seeing others enjoy something will likely make buyers want to take part in it, and can even sometimes spark a bit of envy.

On the other hand, one angry customer can trigger a flood of negative attention, sometimes unwarranted. Unfortunately, these bad reviews typically spread faster than positive reviews because of their ability to play into the fears of potential buyers. Despite an increase in consumer confidence in the U.S., buyers worry that the stakes are too risky to warrant a buyer doing business with you if there’s a negative review.

As a business, you can make these negative reviews work to your advantage. Listen to what people are saying and implement changes to your business that will better serve customers in the future. Respond to every review whether it’s good or bad to show people that you are listening and are always working to improve business operations.

What This Means For Your Business

To maintain an authentic online presence and attract buyers, your business will have to deal with both positive and negative reviews. Handling negative reviews with care not only helps mend buyer opinions, but it also gives you insight on how to improve business operations. By taking all reviews into consideration, you can better tailor your goods and services to meet buyers’ needs.

Take the time to invite more people to review your page as well. Start by sending a personal email to those you know have had great experiences working with your company. And with the importance of reviews in mind, go to the pages of companies you’ve worked with and leave them an honest and helpful review as well. This will help other companies down the line decide if they want to work with the same business.

It’s also important to take some reviews with a grain of salt. Reviewers aren’t always reflective of the mainstream opinion, and some people will never be happy. As long as you provide quality products and good customer service, the rest will happen naturally.

Because of the impact reviews have on the buyer decision-making process, reviews are now an integral part of the Koble platform. Businesses can now read about the pros and cons of doing business with other companies based on other’s experiences. And companies with ratings and reviews on their pages will stand out even more as search results can be filtered by companies with reviews. Get started today by downloading the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.