X reasons online reviews are more important than you think

Online reviews increasingly play a critical role in determining purchase intent for consumers. For businesses, responding to reviews can be an effective strategy for managing the reputation of your brand. But what happens if you ignore your reviews and miss out on the chance to engage with your customers? Let’s take a look at the impact of online reviews and the consequences for businesses if they fail to respond to them.

98% of consumers have read an online review in the past 12 months

Online reviews read by all

Over recent years, the importance of online reviews has become more and more evident. With more business being conducted online during, and since, the pandemic, consumers increasingly look to reviews as a guide to both the quality of a product and the reputation of a business.

Sites like Trustpilot have become critical to the health and success of businesses, while consumers rely on the likes of Tripadvisor, Checkatrade and the review pages of Amazon for advice and guidance on their purchases. Research has suggested that as many as 98% of consumers have read an online review in the past 12 months.

Reviews critical to purchase intent and brand reputation

72% of people trust recent online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

So, we know that online reviews are becoming increasingly prominent. But do they actually matter? Well, pretty much all the available research says yes, they matter a lot.

Research indicates that as many as 80% of online purchases are affected by online reviews, and almost three-quarters of consumers (72%) trust recent online reviews to the same extent as a personal recommendation. Regarding brand perception and reputation, half (50%) of customers refer to reviews of a business to ensure it’s trustworthy before committing to a purchase.


50% of customers check reviews to ensure a business is trustworthy before committing to a purchase

Responding to reviews matters

It seems that online reviews really play their part in helping consumers make their minds up about both products and brands. But what about responses to online reviews? Don’t they just draw attention to people’s negative experiences?

50% of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week

Well, it would appear not. The overwhelming evidence is that responding to online reviews is becoming as essential as engaging on social media or writing a blog on your website. In fact, responding to reviews is now expected, with 53% of customers expecting businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.

57% of consumers would be unlikely to use a business that doesn't respond to reviews at all

Not responding harms your business

While responding to online reviews can boost your reputation and reassure customers, what is the effect of not responding? Can we afford to stay silent and hope the negative reviews blow over? Once again, it seems like engagement is essential, and not responding can be even more harmful to your business.

Research suggests as many as 57% of consumers would be unlikely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all. Another study shows that not responding to negative reviews has a harmful impact on purchase intentions. Meanwhile, review censorship, or trying to cover up negative reviews, can also be damaging, with 62% of consumers saying they won’t support a company that censors its reviews.

What types of reviews should I respond to?

While it might make sense to focus on addressing the negative reviews, research suggests that responding to positive and negative reviews both have a positive impact. In fact, one study concludes that it doesn’t matter whether you’re responding to positive or negative reviews – the positive effect is the same either way.

56% of consumers said that a business's responses to reviews changed their perspective on a company

One thing is for sure: addressing and responding to negative reviews can alleviate the concerns of prospective customers and even improve your company’s reputation. In one study, 45% of consumers stated they’re more likely to visit a business if they respond to negative reviews. More than half of consumers (56%) also say that a business’s responses to reviews have changed their perspective on a company.

Managing your reputation with HomeViews

HomeViews’ unique platform allows residents of the UK’s new build property developments to submit reviews of their homes. This provides unprecedented insight for prospective homebuyers, with a wealth of independent, unbiased information about the pros and cons of new homes across the country.

All the research points to the fact that engaging with your online reviews can enhance the reputation of your business and even increase sales. To find out more about how you can start engaging with your customers through HomeViews, visit our information page by clicking this link.

What is HomeViews?

HomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, house builders, operators, housing associations and the Government to recognise high performers and help improve standards in the built environment.

written by

Jan Moys

A residential property expert with over 15 years’ experience creating content... Read all

A residential property expert with ov... Read all