Think for a second about a business that has a 5 star rating. You think to yourself, “Wow! What a great rating?” You click on the 5 stars to find that the business only has three reviews. In addition, the reviews all are very generic and do not offer you much information about the business. Some of them are only two or three words long.
The next listing that you come across has 4.7 stars. However, the business has 145 reviews. You see that the business’ reviews are genuine and offer you insight into the quality of the business. Although the business has some negative reviews, the customers reference certain products, which shows you that the service or product received left a lasting impression.
With that said, which business would you visit? If you are like most modern consumers, you would visit the more credible business, the one with 4.7 stars, over the one with a perfect rating. This is because many consumers now do not see a review rating as the end all be all. Instead, they value the authenticity of reviews.
The rest of this article outlines three reasons why you don’t want a perfect review rating.
1. Everybody who is anybody has had a subpar review.
The following saying is used a lot in our office, “Even Disney World has negative reviews.”
It is so true and very central to the point of this article. Some people will never be satisfied even if they are in the happiest place in the world.
In addition, some expectations are impossible to meet. For instance, some of the negative reviews on Disney World’s business listing include complaints about long lines and hot weather. While we can assume that the dissatisfaction that the customer felt was not a result of Disney World’s negligence or poor service, the review is still there and affecting Disney World’s average rating.
2. Consumers value brand authenticity.
As illustrated in the Disney World example, you can understand how a perfect review rating is a little unrealistic. Unfortunately, somebody is bound to leave a negative review on your listing and that’s ok. It shows consumers that you are transparent, which goes a long way in today’s world.
What matters is that the positive reviews that you do have provide value to your potential customers in that they reveal information about your business. Generic reviews, such as “great company”, are not as beneficial as comprehensive reviews in which your customers mention your products and employees.
3. Volume is evidence of credibility.
Due to the sheer amount of user-generated content, consumers have been conditioned to gauge authenticity based on the volume of reviews rather than the cosmetic rating. While average review rating is definitely important for a local business, it is not the end all be all. On the contrary, review volume and brand interaction are important. If you are actively requesting reviews from your customers and responding to them in public forums, your target customers will be more likely to overlook one or two subpar reviews.
What You Can & Should Do
Instead of focusing on a perfect rating, you should focus on generating more reviews for your online reputation is credible. In addition, if you ever do receive a negative review, your average rating will not be affected as much. On the other hand, you should focus on responding to your reviews (all of them), which makes your brand more relatable and authentic.