You might have read the book “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan. It deals with the need to become a resource to your customers. The book was relevant when it was written (2009) and is even more so now, as the results of a recent study show. According to the research, conducted by Brightlocal.com and reported here:
- Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.
- Only 15% of consumers said that they had not used the Internet to find a local business (vs. 21% in 2010)
- 16% of consumers said they used the Internet every week to find local businesses (vs. 9% in 2010)
- More consumers are reading online reviews now than 15 months ago, with 27% regularly reading online reviews when looking for a local business to use.
- Just 28% of consumers cite location &/or price as main decision-making factor
The takeaway is that local search is being used to research your business and positive online reviews are a bigger factor in your success than location or price. That’s amazing but not surprising to me. After all, the behavior of asking friends, family, or others about impending purchases isn’t a new phenomenon. The technology and ease of finding that information is a relatively recent thing, and becoming easier every day.
There has been something in accounting called “goodwill” which is that value of a business above and beyond its assets. Call it reputation, call it trust, but it’s definitely something that has value even if it’s intangible. This piece called ‘Why Trust Matters More Than Ever For Brands” lays it out beautifully and this is the key quote:
We’ve all been taught that trust and reputation are important elements of branding. Today, though, trust is not simply a nice thing to have, but a critical strategic asset.
So what are you doing to make sure everyone in your organization conveys that your firm can be trusted with a customer’s business? How actively are you watching your company’s reputation? Maybe something for today’s (and every day’s) “to do” list?