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92% of consumers will hesitate to make a purchase if they don’t see a customer review

We all know that negative reviews can hurt your business, but did you know that a total lack of reviews might hurt just as much?

According to results from a recent survey by Fan & Fuel, 92% of consumers will hesitate to make a purchase if they don’t see a customer review. And not just any old review will do. Those filled in stars under a product might look nice but 34% want to see a detailed written review before making a buying decision.

Now, having a page full of nothing but glowing praise isn’t going to work for 32% of shoppers. Those people said they find reviews to be more believable if there’s a mix of negative and positive remarks. (So you stop crying over that 3 star comment from a year ago!)

65% of people surveyed said they wouldn’t “not buy” on the basis of one bad review. That sounds like good news, but that still leaves a large number of buyers who are easily swayed by even a single ridiculous or unreasonable thumbs down.

We’ve always said, the best way to counter bad reviews is to have enough positive reviews to drown out the noise. But getting any kind of reviews from customers can be difficult.

You don’t want to incentivize people into posting a phony review, and you don’t want to push too hard only to hear that the customer wasn’t happy. The good news from this survey, is that you don’t have to have a lot of reviews to win people over. Only 19% of those surveyed said that their trust lies in large numbers, so you can be more selective about when and who you ask to leave their thoughts.

What constitutes a helpful, trustworthy review?  The majority of respondents said they look for a combination of positive details and reports of specific problems. What they’re really after, is to find out whether or not the product or service is a good fit. When it comes to reviews, beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder.

For example, a reviewer who complains about too many kids in a restaurant might turn off the mom looking for a free night with the girls, but it could be seen as a plus for the mom without a babysitter.

And though customers don’t skim reviews looking for good customer service, it doesn’t hurt to publicly respond to problems. Just make sure your response is 100% helpful, respectful and sarcasm free. Review trolls are frustrating, but trust that your potential customers will be savvy enough to know the difference between a legitimate complaint and an unreasonable, unhappy being who enjoys being in the internet spotlight.

Instead of fearing online reviews, embrace them because they truly are the key to growing your business and your reputation.

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