90% of Customers Say That Online Reviews Influenced a Recent Purchase DecisionApril 15, 2013
90% of Customers Say Reading Positive Online Reviews Influenced a Purchase Decision.
A recent survey by Dimensional Research, a market research firm focused on technology, found that 90% of customers who could recall having read online reviews were influenced by positive reviews in their purchase decision. Similarly, 86% said that reading negative reviews had influenced their decision. While the survey’s overall focus was on the importance of customer service, it showed how many customer service interactions, whether good or bad, eventually end up being shared and how they may have an impact on revenue. No matter the industry, increasing focus on providing good customer service is a must as many of these interactions are viewable publicly online or are shared after the fact on review sites where they are increasingly influencing purchase decisions.
This survey, sponsored by Zendesk, was conducted among 1,064 people who had recent customer service experiences with mid-sized companies. Key findings of the survey, as they relate to the spread of respondent’s information about their customer service experiences:
“More participants reported they shared stories about bad customer service (95%) than told about good experiences (87%).”
“Stories were told most frequently in person to friends or family (81% for bad and 72% for good) or coworkers (57% for bad and 40% for good).”
“Participants also reported broad use of social media (45% for bad and 30% for good) and online review sites (35% for bad and 23% for good) to spread stories about customer service experiences.”
A common theme among these numbers is that people are always quicker to share information about bad experience than a good one. Business owners should be aware of this and in addition to working hard to make sure all experiences are positive ones, they should be aware of what their options are to mitigate the damage of negative reviews. Sometimes simply reaching out to an upset customer with a note of acknowledgement or asking for more information about their experience can turn them back around. Making these communications public can also help prevent the negative post or review from influencing others who will read it before making a purchase decision.
Looking specifically at online reviews of customer service, the respondents make it clear just how important the maintenance and management of a business’ reviews really is.
“The vast majority of participants who have seen reviews claimed that that information did impact their buying decisions. This was true of both positive reviews (90%) as well as negative reviews (86%).”
With a clear majority of respondents who had seen reviews reporting that they were influenced by them, businesses must make an effort to highlight honest positive experiences and work to mitigate any negativity. Communicating directly with an upset customer and making the effort to turn their experience positive not only effects their long-term relationship with the business but also that of their close friends and family, co-workers, and those who would see the information online. Monitoring social media channels and online reviews is an increasingly important aspect of running a business but the cost of ignoring it continues to increase. The good news is – we’re here to help!
For more information about this survey, specifically with elaboration on the customer service aspects of it, please visit: http://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-and-lifetime-customer-value