Turning the Tables on Yelp: Businesses Offer Feedback on Consumer Review Sites, in Landmark Woodbury University/ReviewInc Study

Top Quote While 75 Percent of Businesses Track What Consumers Say About Them Online, Reviews Still Not Top Priority for Business Owners, Study Finds. End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) February 01, 2014 - In something of a turnabout, business owners have formally sounded off on consumer review sites like Yelp and it appears that while the vast majority are listening intently, businesses don't take reviews quite as seriously as consumers do.

    That's just one of the findings of a new Woodbury University (www.woodbury.edu) study that explores how businesses monitor online consumer reviews. The study, sponsored by ReviewInc (www.reviewinc.com) and conducted by the university's MBA program, found that nearly 75 percent of the 261 businesses surveyed monitor customer satisfaction in some form.

    "While most prior research on online reviews dealt with the consumer perception of reviews, our study is one of the few to examine the impact of online reviews from the business owner's perspective," said Kristen Schiele, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing at Woodbury's School of Business. "Our research shows that there's a significant gap between how consumers regard reviews and prevailing attitudes toward reviews among business owners. As a business school on the cutting edge, we at Woodbury believe that business owners should be taking a closer look at how they incorporate reviews into their business practices."

    Among the study's key takeaways:

    While 49 percent of respondents reported that they monitor reviews at least twice a month, more than half do not monitor reviews at all.
    A whopping 79.5 percent of respondents said they expected revenue to increase at least 1 percent with a one-point star rating improvement.
    If their overall business rating went from a 4.5 star to 3.5 star rating, 75 percent of respondents expected their revenue to decrease by at least 1 percent.

    Expectations for increased revenue based on star rating improvement were consistent with a recent Harvard Business School Study, which examined only the restaurant sector. The landmark Woodbury/ReviewInc survey focuses on several business categories.

    "In consumer studies, reviews tend to have the most impact on business selection," said Henri Isenberg, founder and COO of ReviewInc and a Woodbury MBA. "By contrast, our survey demonstrates that reviews are not yet a top priority for business owners and executives."

    Woodbury MBA students are currently conducting a follow-up study to increase the survey sample size. "As the online review ecosystem rapidly evolves, we want to continue to critically analyze its importance and economic value." Woodbury's Schiele said.

    About Woodbury University
    Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Organizational Leadership. A San Diego campus offers bachelor of architecture, Master of Real Estate Development for Architects (MRED), and Master of Science in Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism degrees. Visit www.woodbury.edu for more information, and Reflections on Excellence (http://www.drluiscalingo.com/), the new twice-monthly blog written by Woodbury University President Luis Maria R. Calingo, Ph.D.

    Media Contact
    Ken Greenberg
    Edge Communications, Inc.
    (323) 469-3397
    ken ( @ ) edgecommunicationsinc dot com

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