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What Are Your Reviews Saying About You? An Analysis Of Over 500 Reviews [Case Study]

sterling sky reviews article cover imageWe Looked At Over 500 Reviews To Find Out What’s Really Being Talked About In Them

We live in a day and age when consumers want to believe in what they are buying. They want to know that they are getting quality. One of the key ways they make the choices they do is through online reviews. Studies have shown that almost nine out of ten buyers will look at online reviews before making a buying decision and that 79% of people trust these reviews.

What those reviews say can make or break whether a person decides to go with that company and give them their business or not. It’s more than just whether the review is positive or negative, it’s about the content of the review, what things are being discussed, so we decided to take a look at a number of reviews for our clients to see what sort of common topics are being discussed and what that means for your business.

We looked at over 500 reviews for companies in 12 different industries and found that there were 4 basic topics that people will cover when they write a review; the owner or practitioner, the staff, the property or office, the service provided, or some combination of all of these. 

Owner Reviews

You are the face of your company, customers understand that and want to recognize that very often in their reviews. Of the 514 positive reviews we looked at, 152 mentioned the owner of the establishment. It was particularly common in industries like ‘dentist’ or ‘lawyer’ where the client typically works one on one with them. Common sentiments mentioned in reviews included ‘really listened to me,’ ‘was quick to respond,’ and ‘made me feel comfortable or at ease.’ Clients or patients share their positive connections with the owner through their reviews and conversely will also share negative connections as well. Out of the 74 negative reviews we looked at 31 mentioned the owner or practitioner, nearly half. These reviews very often commented on a lack of communication, rudeness, or not being satisfied with the way they were treated. 

Staff Reviews

Customer reviews about staff were also very common, 143 of the positive reviews we looked at mentioned their interactions with front desk staff, support staff like dental hygienists or legal assistants, or sales staff like car salespeople. What is interesting is how often the customer referred to a staff member by name. More than three-quarters of the reviews for staff we looked at mentioned a specific staff member and the excellent customer service he or she provided. The most common words mentioned for reviews speaking about staff were that they were ‘friendly,’ ‘knowledgeable,’ and ‘cared about my needs.’ Although there were fewer negative reviews about staff members, only 10 out of the 74, the word rude was most often used to describe their interaction with a staff member, and the common sentiment was that they weren’t getting the attention they thought they deserved.

Property Reviews

It’s the little things that matter when it comes to property reviews. Customers very often commented on cleanliness, the temperature, and whether the business had the equipment they needed while they were there, as in a cart at a storage facility. With covid still being a factor in many people’s buying decisions, it was also mentioned often if the property was following social distancing and hand sanitizing procedures. 21 of the positive reviews we looked at commented on the quality of the property and that it made them feel comfortable and at ease. From a negative standpoint, the negative reviews about properties almost always called out uncleanliness, broken items, or lack of equipment or property services they needed such as an elevator not being operational to get to the office. 

Service Reviews

The last topic we saw commonly mentioned in the online reviews was about the different services that were provided. These were particularly common in service area businesses like arborists or electricians. People wanted it known when there was a job well done when a lighting panel was fixed or when trees were pruned beautifully. The most common sentiments being shared about the services were that ‘the job was handled quickly,’ ‘that the problem was fixed,’ or ‘that the end result was what they hoped for or better.’ The most common negative comment we saw in service reviews was that the workmanship was shoddy or that the problem was not fixed.

Another very common item mentioned negatively was price or money. It was often referred to in the area of service that the cost for what was done was too high but it permeated through all topics of reviews from owners charging too much for their services or only caring about making money, to staff members hiding charges or overcharging for different things. 

The other reviews we looked at either mentioned a combination of the above-listed topics or they were simply generic ‘excellent job’ type reviews. Although of all the positive reviews we looked at only about 10% were generic in nature. Most people want to share their personal experiences online so that other users to gain insight.


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What You Can Learn From Your Reviews

Understanding the content that is contained in your reviews can help you get a better sense of what your customers think about your business and help you make informed decisions about how to improve. Here are some key takeaways we found from our research.

  1. Communication Is Key

    Whether you think you can help a customer or not it is important to reach out to them and respond in a timely manner. People appreciate when they feel listened to and are quick to complain when feeling ignored. Make sure that your front-end staff answers the phone and replies to messages or emails as quickly as possible.

  2. Your Staffing Choices Matter

    They are the ones with whom your reputation rests. A good staff member can win you a client for life whereas a negligent or rude staff member can bring down the rating of the whole company. Look at your reviews, is there a staff member who continually gets mentioned for their positive attitude, or knowledgeable way of doing things? Is that staff member being recognized for the positive press they bring to your company? What can be learned from the way they do business and how can it be applied to other staff members? Listen to your staff, they are your frontline. 

  3. Continue To Take A Look Around

    We can get so busy running a business we can start to overlook the day-to-day deficiencies that stand out to customers. Small things like a window blind being broken or the hours of the business not being correct on a posted sign can have significant negative ramifications when someone points it out in an online review. It shouts to the world that you aren’t paying attention to the details. Take some time every week to stop and look at your property or equipment to make sure there aren’t any areas that need a little sprucing up. 

  4. Professionalism Wins Every Time

    The one word we saw over and over again in almost 75% of the reviews we looked at was the word ‘professional.’ More than friendly, caring, or clean, people want the business they choose, for whatever the need, to be professional. Make sure everyone in your company can clearly communicate the expertise you can bring to a potential client and have clear processes in place to keep unprofessional slipups, ie. not answering the phone, from occurring. 

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When it comes to online reviews it’s great to get them but it’s even better to learn from them. Take some time to read through your reviews and see what your customers are saying about you. Celebrate the positive and learn from the negative, making changes to your business to keep new clients from having the same negative reactions. Your reviews aren’t just a statement about how your business has been, they are a guide about how it could be, make sure you’re taking full advantage of them. 

Contact Sterling Sky Inc.

If you’re a local business that needs help with your Google My Business listing, review strategy, or online presence on Google and other search engines, at Sterling Sky we can help. We offer SEO audits, consulting, or monthly local SEO services. Contact our office today for more information.


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Becky Weller

Becky comes from a writing-focused background. She previously worked both in the healthcare field and for a website designer working on content creation and some limited optimization. She is an eager student, ready to dive deeper into the world of SEO and learn all she can from her incredibly experienced colleagues. In her off time she also writes young adult fiction novels, and loves spending time with her two kids and husband.

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