Survey: 63% of SMBs Now ‘Encourage’ Customer Reviews

There are lots of surveys about the importance of local business reviews. The latest (registration required) comes from Uberall (n=300 SMBs) and is focused on business owner attitudes about reviews and review acquisition.

According to the findings, “more than 90% of SMBs think online reviews are important.” Here’s the distribution:

  • Very important — 54%
  • Moderately important — 28%
  • Slightly important — 9%
  • Not important — 9%

The survey also found that 63% of SMBs encourage customers to post reviews online, while 37% don’t do anything to generate reviews.

The survey discovered that a striking 86% percent of SMBs respond to consumer reviews:

  • Always — 36%
  • Frequently — 24%
  • Sometimes — 26%
  • Never — 14%

It also found that among SMBs who respond, 81% do so for both positive and critical reviews; 12% only respond to positive reviews and 6% only respond to negative reviews. (The 86% is a very high number vs. other surveys.)

Asked about what motivates them to respond to negative reviews, these SMBs said:

  • To implement solutions to issues that are being clearly cited by customers as problematic — 32%
  • To show other/potential future customers that we are attentive and care — 29%
  • To discovery quality control failures in your place of business — 20%
  • To win back an unhappy customer — 20%
  • Other — 1%

A 2018 LSA survey for SOCi found that 50% of SMBs (n=315) didn’t have a review acquisition strategy and 40% infrequently or never responded to reviews. Further, 39% of businesses had either no opinion or disagreed with idea that online reputation “strongly influences” consumer decision-making. This stands in marked contrast to the 90% of SMBs in the Uberall survey who considered online reviews “important.”

Overall, the Uberall survey suggests a pretty digital-savvy SMB population. As with all surveys, however, respondents may present a more idealized picture of their behavior than the reality (e.g., “we always respond to reviews”). It would also be interesting to know what the 63% of SMBs who encourage customers to post reviews online actually do in the way of “encouragement.”

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