According to Nielsen’s 2013 “Global Trust in Advertising Survey,” 70% of consumers trust online reviews from people they don’t know, up 15% from four years earlier. Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations, whether from strangers or friends and family, above all, other forms of advertising. I benefited from a word-of-mouth review this week, and it tipped my purchasing decision in favor of the brand. Here's my story. To set the stage, I’m having a quick lunch with a close friend and we are talking about the perils of giving a teen boy their own set of car keys. Our boys are 15 ½ and chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel. My friend, a Scientist who prefers to have evidence and data to support all her choices, waxed eloquently as follows. “DriversEd.com was great. I know the name sounds cheesy, but they bundled our online course with driving lessons, gave us a discount, and Wil could use their mobile app to take the course while he rides the bus to school. They followed up with me to set up driving classes the minute he finished the online course, and a professional driver trainer showed up at our house for the first scheduled lesson yesterday. Robbi did this with Jared too.” Done! I could cease my search for a highly rated driving school. But that wasn't all. As a marketing professional, I was intrigued with how concisely my friend hit on the value points for their product. Unfortunately for the brand, I’m the only person who heard that story. Great customer review systems make it effortless for you to tap happy homeowners and amplify their stories to thousands of digital house hunters. Happy homeowners are experiencing life's milestones in your communities. In your brand's homes, they welcome babies, enjoy career growth, nurture their families and experience a whole spectrum of firsts - walking, running, kindergarten, graduations, college and yes, handing over the car keys to a teen. At the core of a customer review is a human being willing to share their experience, like my friend did over lunch. If you can tap their stories and make them shareable, you have marketing gold that has the power to convert digital shoppers into sales center visitors. I understand why new home consumers focus their reviews on the presale experience (selecting their model and options), closing and post-sale service. We have expectations of a new home that it will be built immaculately and that the customer service will be as pristine. But what if builder marketers could easily solicit reviews that focus on the experience of living in their communities? When we shop for a home we are imagining how our life will fit into a new environment. So, why not solicit reviews about what it's like to live life in your new homes? Reviews can offer rich content if you have a good system for soliciting the feedback. In an upcoming interview with customer review expert, Henri Isenberg, of Reviewinc.com, we'll take a look at how customer reviews drive homebuyers to your community and discuss "must have" features for any review system you implement. We'll also feature a special invitation for Homebuilders to help you centralize, simplify and shape your customer review content. Thanks for visiting. Cheers! Leslie Bridges, Chief Blogger Marketing Blueprints is delivered compliments of Builder Promotions.