Survey: Small Businesses on What’s Needed to Find a Service Provider Coming Out of COVID-19
Trust and skills rank above budget as biggest challenges in finding a partner for your business.
Social proof marketing is one of the most influential forms of marketing being deployed by many different businesses across social media and online directory platforms. While traditional paid advertising and other methods still play a role in well-rounded marketing strategies, trends across social media and third-party review platforms have marketers increasingly leveraging the psychological need in consumers to consult with various communities to make purchasing decisions.
Think about the last major purchase you made. You probably didn’t just throw a dart at the wall and immediately proclaim that new SUV “the one.” You likely did your research, and there’s a solid chance you read through a plethora of reviews talking about make and model reputation, safety, acceleration, durability, stated vs. experienced gas mileage, comfort, etc.
The same goes for businesses seeking services from B2B providers. With the kind of investment that generally comes with a B2B partnership, businesses want to make sure they’re doing their due diligence to find the perfect fit to achieve their specific objectives.
Vetting more than one service provider and asking all the pertinent questions is part of the plan, of course, but reviews are extremely important in the decision-making process. Before signing on the dotted line, potential buyers want to hear from others who have done business with a particular firm. What was the experience like? What exceeded their expectations? What didn’t work so well? Are there any red flags gleaned from these reviews that indicate this company wouldn’t be a good fit for your needs?
It all comes down to trust. There’s a healthy skepticism in play when businesses tell you all about their effectiveness and benefits of choosing them. That’s why case studies, testimonials, and third-party reviews are in such demand. When previous customers do the talking, it allows potential new clients to lower their guard and start to see the benefits in a more relatable way.
We surveyed business leaders about shopping for a provider partner, and to no surprise, trust and reviews were top of mind.
The most challenging part of shopping for a service provider is finding one…
(out of 1,017 total respondents)
So while cost plays a role in a world where businesses are always looking for ways to do more with less, trust and capability still carry more weight. And, as seen in the next group of responses, that trust and sense of capability is driven by review ratings and the overall quantity of reviews.
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When choosing a service provider, what information is most important to you?
(out of 657 total respondents)
As an aside, a company’s average star rating seems a little fishy to potential customers if it’s 5 stars across the board. A few 3- or 4-star reviews actually give a business a bit more credibility and put the onus on the prospect to decide if the particular reasons for a lower star rating even matter to them. Businesses generally are perceived as more trustworthy when their star rating is something like 4.8 instead of 5.
“Virtual word-of-mouth has become table stakes in B2B partner selection. Businesses have limited budgets, and when choosing an extension of their team to grow, trust and credibility are paramount,” said UpCity SVP of Product & Marketing Heidi Sullivan. “That makes it more important than ever for B2B service providers to build their reputation online.”
Businesses seeking services have never had more options to choose from than they do today. If everything else is equal, the deciding factor is going to be which B2B service provider can illustrate their trustworthiness the best. Reviews are incredibly important in building online credibility, and as a core element of how a business is perceived online, it’s critical for every provider to put forth the time and effort to make sure their prospective customers have everything they need to be confident in their buying decision.