When was the last time you decided to buy something and didn’t look in the review section or consulted with others? I guess it has left you in a baffling state; that’s because we don’t usually try something without checking its authenticity. And the most we depend on for this analysis is ratings and reviews.
Reviews create an impression on our mind for businesses, brands, products/services, etc. And in today’s world, reviews and ratings are most significant than ever. As a result, companies are trying hard to get a higher rating and positive reviews for google. But do consumers always choose something that has the perfect 5 out of 5 ratings, or trust an above-average rating more?
Impact of Reviews
Ratings and reviews have a noticeable impact on our decision making. Reviews are mainly impressions made by users, which is still a powerful offline marketing tool that made its appearance online in the name of reviews and ratings. Consumers form their judgment and refer products/services based on the reviews and rating section.
A local consumer survey, conducted by BrightLocal, revealed that 97% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing. Source That’s why businesses are continually focusing on building a good review portfolio. Hence, it may seem that having an overall perfect score will be a jackpot for companies, but the actual case is different.
Recent data analysis showed that Businesses that have 5 out of 5 stars on their websites or pages tend to create more dissonance among consumers than reducing it. People likely to get more convinced by ratings that show an above-average 4.2 or 4.5 ratings.
5 Stars vs. 4.5 Stars
In this digital era, consumers now know that they can get easily manipulated by businesses and their advertising tools while making a decision. People want to know the reactions and experiences of others. And as we all know that there are two sides of every coin; that’s why a complete 5-star rating is not very influencing.
It’s not believable that all the users had a satisfying experience. Consumers find it too good to be true, and it generates conflicts and dissonance, which is not suitable for businesses. In a study by PowerReviews, it was showed that about 82% of consumers actually look for negative reviews.
A survey by Womply on the impact of reviews on small businesses presented that businesses with a rating between 3.5 and 4.5 stars earn more sales than any other rating. Besides, stores with a 4.0 – 4.5 rating make an additional 28 percent in annual income. It’s even riskier to have an overall perfect score because it creates high expectations. And if the product/service fails to meet that benchmark, it results in a disaster on the consumer following.
Having a rating of less than 5 is not a bad thing. It shows that people tried the product/service and shared their true experience and honest advice. Consumers believe other consumers. They like to read other user’s experience even if it’s a bad one. Because nowadays, consumers are surrounded by too many options to choose from, and that makes them more dissonant and skeptical than ever.
Even though people try to select the best from those options, something tagged as perfect makes it fishy and increases the number of avoidance for that product/service as they feel misguided. In fact, the mix of bad and good reviews makes the brand, product/service more transparent and trustworthy. It also shows that a business is concerned about its consumers and invites them to share their experiences, whether it’s favorable or unfavorable.
Manipulating the words or faking reviews won’t help in the long run. Consumers like to reduce their skeptic feelings and confusion through other’s words. It works even better when they see that the authority is responsive to reviews and maintains a good customer relationship. But when they feel that the words are fake or manipulative, they might never return to that page or website, and retargeting them becomes very tough because the trust is broken.
Reviews can help to make data-driven consumer experience insights. And having some negative reviews will actually help there. Because by sentiment analysis or review management software, businesses can find what a consumer really wants and how to improve the product/service.
It also helps to make smarter decisions to increase the reputation of the business. By these, companies can generate new reviews and more positive feedbacks and better serve their clients.
Reviews and ratings are the most natural and accepted part of any business. Other promotional tools can create attraction, but reviews and ratings build trust. That’s why this part should be as much as authentic as possible. Yes, negative reviews create a bitter impression, but only if it’s frequent.
And if that’s the case, then businesses should focus on the improvement of their product/service than filtering negative reviews. Companies’ have to accept that it’s not always possible to satisfy all the consumers. Some may get unsatisfied, but that doesn’t mean the end of the world. What’s more important is focusing on having a ratio of good reviews to those that are bad.
Finally, it’s always like Yin and Yang. There’ll always be something bad in good and vice versa. So better not fake it. Engagement with consumers should be natural and authentic. And reviews or ratings are the ideal platforms for that. The main focus should be on improvement, not perfection, because people like to connect themselves more with something familiar, not exceptional.