The term reviews might make you think more of write-ups about restaurants than financial service providers, but today, online reviews matter immensely in financial services. In fact, 74% of insurance customers report that reviews are “very” or “somewhat” important in their journey to purchase insurance.*
Reviews play a huge role in the decision-making process across industries: An estimated 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and reviews have been shown to produce an average 18% uplift in sales.
Here’s an example customer journey to help illustrate the impact reviews can have when choosing a financial professional: A mother of two, and successful executive, is aiming to make the right decisions for her family when looking for an insurance agent — but she’s busy and doesn’t want to spend tons of time conducting research. Naturally, she turns to people she trusts for their opinion. Over lunch, a friend recommends Richard Han, and when she arrives home, she searches for him online. This is where the online journey begins and where reviews make a big impact. If you don’t show up in these search results, or show up with a poor rating, you risk losing business to the competition.
Reviews are of critical importance when it comes to showing up in searches across the maps, search engines, chatbots, and voice assistants consumers are using every day — at critical moments of intent when customers need you. Google has even disclosed that your ability to show up in local search results, in particular, depends on three key factors:
Distance: For example, has insurance agent Richard Han claimed his listing, and is his address in close proximity to the location where a customer might be searching? Today, consumers don’t even have to enter “near me” in their search queries — it’s assumed that the customer is looking for something nearby.
Relevance: Has Richard Han stated he’s a financial professional and is he managing long-tail information like certifications, awards, and languages spoken? This is how he ensures that his listing will surface for customers looking for a specific service he provides (e.g., “insurance agent who speaks Korean”).
Prominence: This is where reviews factor in — specifically the rating, quantity, and recency. Has Richard Han followed reviews best practices so that he has numerous reviews (hopefully positive!) from customers who have worked with him?
The way consumers search has changed. People are increasingly searching for things like “best loan officer near me.” In fact, mobile searches including the term “best” have increased by 80% since 2016. And often, when you include the word “best” in a search, Google will actually pre-filter the local pack to only include businesses and professionals with ratings of four stars and above.
To compete online, managing reviews is critical for your digital strategy. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to send prospects to someone who is actively delighting customers?