The conversation about financial institutions implementing online reviews is far from new. The topic has been thrown around in a variety of forums over the years at marketing and operations conferences. While some financials have embraced and adopted a more transparent model of allowing consumers to rate and evaluate their products, services and service within their own website, the vast majority have not.

Consequentially, consumers end up reviewing financials by way of third-party platforms – Google, Yelp, Foursquare, Nerd Wallet, etc. By doing this, financials are losing control of the conversation and the ability to get out in front of problems before they begin.

How Important Are Online Reviews?

If the conversation about online reviews for financials has been going on for so long, yet there has been little-to-no adoption of this trend. One has to wonder: how important are online reviews? Here are few stats to put you in the right mindset:

  • 88% of consumers incorporate online reviews into their purchase decisions.
  • 90% of consumers read online reviews.
  • 40% of consumers will form an opinion after reading only one-to-three reviews.
  • 68% say positive online reviews make them trust a local business more.
  • Consumers who read reviews on a smartphone are 127% more likely to purchase.

In the Amazon-Google-Facebook online shopping world, there are very few consumers these days that make purchase decisions without first reading reviews of a product. The argument stands to reason that reviews can help financials in the same way they help consumer goods purchases.

How to Implement Online Reviews

In my opinion, there are three levels of online reviews that your financial should consider implementing through various channels.

  • Brand/Reputation Reviews: These reviews are likely already in existence in some form on third-party platforms such as Google, Facebook and Yelp. The important factor in controlling the conversation about your brand and reputation is taking ownership of the reviews. By claiming your business on Yelp and Google My Business (to name just two), you are able to be notified when reviews come about your bank or credit union and respond immediately.
  • Product and Service Reviews: Many of us are no stranger to product reviews. These reviews help consumers make decisions about purchases and allow an outlet for feedback. Living on your website, implementing reviews is a great way for new and existing customers or members to tell you about your products and how you might be able to improve them. As a secondary use, product review ratings are a great source of testimonial marketing for the organization.
  • Customer/Member Service Reviews: Community financials continue to preach about having the best service in town. Allowing your consumers to weigh in on their service experiences with bank or credit union staff online and in a way you are able to better control the conversation lets you put your service on a pedestal.

Does your community financial use online reviews to get a baseline of how your brand is being received? Do you have a way to connect with your consumers about service and your products? Let us know! Drop us a line or leave a comment.