29% of companies say reviews can lead to an increase in sales

We all know how important reviews are when looking to purchase a new device. However, reviews can be crucial for small businesses, since positive reviews can increase the success of a business but a negative review can have a devastating effect on their long term strategy. How do companies deal with reviews from customers? Do they use reviews software to track them and respond? How do they manage reviews?

reviews software for sme owners

We asked 1,004 SME owners, managers and mid-managers in British SMEs to understand how companies use reviews and most importantly if they use a specific review management software or reputation management software to track and assess these (scroll to the bottom of the article for a full methodology).

British business owners manage their reviews

Today, reputation management is almost as important as the quality of the product a company sells.

Ryan Kent, Director of Reviews Operations for Gartner Digital Markets, states the importance of reviews for businesses-authenticity:

“Customer reviews offer a brief, peer-provided summary of a product and help buyers narrow their options. […] Aside from creating a helpful experience for buyers, you can use reviews to learn more about your customers, identify product gaps, build promotional and social media campaigns, and run competitor analysis.”

 

The majority of the surveyed decision-makers in British SMEs (93%) are happy with the way their companies are currently managing reviews.

Reviews are a way for consumers to find more information, based on user experience, about a product before making a purchasing decision. For businesses, however, reviews are a way of tracking down how customers feel about their products and/or services.

The average number of reviews that a small business has in the UK is between 20 and  500. When we asked respondents how many reviews their business has, 15% stated between 21-50, 19% 51-100 and 16% 101-500.

For consumers, the minimum number of reviews is between 5-20 to have some credibility. In addition, and according to our research, businesses should check to see their reviews platforms also have: 

  • A higher number of positive reviews than negative, since positive reviews are more trusted by UK consumers.
  • Fresh reviews, not older than 3 months.
  • Written reviews over rating are preferred.

1 in 3 SMEs use reviews software to track customer opinions

Our study also showed that 62% of consumers trust online reviews more than expert’s opinions when looking for trusted opinions on the web. This is crucial for business in understanding the value of reviews, and the impact that these can have on the consumers’ decision of choosing their brand over a competitor. 

When asked what is the value of reviews to respondents, the top response was to improve customer service 59%, stating that reviews allow them to improve the service they give customers. 

Almost half (54%) of business owners and decision-makers also stated that reviews allow them to improve the product and business offering, thanks to the feedback by consumers. 29% believe that reviews can lead to an increase in sales.

Approximately a third of respondents (30%) stated that reviews are a way to interact with customers and engage with them. In addition, 44% of them stated that reviews help increase brand image.

A large number of SMEs still use manual methods to track reviews

Over a third of SMEs surveyed use a specific review software (like review management or reputation management software) to manage and collect reviews.

7% of decision-makers surveyed stated not being happy with the way reviews are being handled by their company. Almost half of them (45%) would like to be able to react to more reviews and to read and follow them better (40%). Having organised them in a dashboard (31%) and being able to promote them more (28%) are other reasons that these business owners find frustrating.

Despite the number of decision-makers aware of the importance of keeping reviews in a good place, 44% of the companies that don’t use an external tool or software to collect reviews use a manual method like a spreadsheet. 

Using specialised tools like reviews management software can help companies with collecting testimonials and reviews, managing negative feedback and help improve the perception customers have of the product or service the company offers. 

Tip: There are a number of free tools available that will help your customers to share their opinions. SMEs that want to make the best use of this technology should start with a free trial with two or three vendors offering this software and assess which tool is better suited for their needs. 
Looking for Review Management Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Business Reviews Survey” study was collected in October 2020 from an online survey of 2,062 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,004 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:

  • Owner/CEO
  • High management/working across-departments
  • Middle management

And with the following number of employees:

  • 1 employee
  • 2-10 employees
  • 11-50 employees
  • 51-250 employees

All participants come from different industry sectors.