Those watching the customer reviews space, may have seen the successful IPO of Yelp Inc (YELP) in the US. On the first day of trading (Fri 2nd March), shares jumped 64 percent, giving Yelp a market valuation of $1.47 billion (around 18 times revenue).
WOMO Founders: Brad Bond & Fiona Adler
In Australia, the reviews scene is led by Word Of Mouth Online (WOMO.com.au) which currently has over 210,000 reviews for local businesses and 93,000 members.
Reviews sites like Yelp in the US and Word Of Mouth Online (WOMO.com.au) in Australia are rapidly altering the way savvy consumers find and choose businesses, helping them choose the businesses with a great word-of-mouth reputation.
Smart local businesses are tapping into customer reviews as a more authentic and transparent way of promoting their businesses and many are seeing a corresponding surge in customer inquiries.
Fiona Adler, Word Of Mouth Online's founder, says "I'm passionate about the work we're doing as each day we're helping thousands people find the best businesses (and avoid the worst)."
Small business marketing was once dominated by the Yellow Pages and local newspapers, but as consumers shift their movements online and are increasingly skeptical of traditional marketing, reviews provide a way of getting found and building trust. Nielsen research reports that 78% of people trust consumer recommendations over all other forms of advertising and marketing. Customer reviews provide a way for businesses to build their online reputation and get noticed…
- “The best advertising comes from my customers – they write what they think of my services and suddenly I’m getting enquiries from all over town! I’m now getting 12-15 new clients from WOMO every week." Lee Davies, Salon Lavan
- "I've found that people are always looking on the net for reviews. WOMO is great because it helps people sort out the reliable tradies (like me!) from the dodgy operators." Steve Konstantinou, Konstant Maintenance Plumbing
- "The majority of our new clients now come from WOMO – way more than Yellow Pages. Lots of our clients tell us they use WOMO for everything now. We love it when we get a new review – I'll print it out and stick it up in our back room." Natasha Varga from Green Butterfly
- "With customer reviews, we're putting our reputation on the line – but we're prepared to back ourselves. It's amazing how many people will mention the reviews to us. We’ve had lots of customers come directly from WOMO – and many more cases where WOMO has helped us close the sale." Chris Dimos, Mr Verandah
- "New customers from WOMO account for a third of our revenue! It gives me goosebumps when I read some of the great things our customers are saying about us!" Misty Singer, Misty’s 1950’s Diner
- "We've doubled our revenue and we definitely attribute much of this growth to our word-of-mouth reviews. Basing our marketing on customer feedback has been one of the best business decisions we've made!" Sarah Stadler, DNA Bathrooms and Kitchens
Consumer reviews for Word Of Mouth Online (WOMO) itself reveal how passionate it's followers are about using reviews and their ability to help people find amazing businesses.
Australia is on it's way to becoming a "Meritocracy" with the best and worst businesses being exposed online.
It's a win for consumers and a win for customer-focused businesses.