What is the Ideal Review Star Rating in 2020?

Review Rating Blog Cover

What is the ideal review star rating? A perfect 5, right? That would be the most obvious answer and the most ideal situation. After all, don’t we all strive for perfection? Doesn’t a 5-star rating shout to the world that you have made it to the apex and are the best of the best? Doesn’t everyone want the best of the best?

Well, the answers to all these questions as they pertain to online reviews management for your business may surprise you. That’s because perfection is not the ideal anymore. It has been shown in recent studies that consumers are actually more likely to trust and patronize a business that has a less than perfect star rating – in between 4.2 and 4.5-star ratings to be exact.

And while this data seems to go against everything we were told growing up and in school – be the best you can possibly be, only the strong survive, being the best will bring you success, etc. – there are actually some very logical reasons why this is now the case in 2020.

In 2020, review perfection is no longer what you should strive for and before we get into ways you can achieve the new standard, it would help to understand why sub-perfection is the new standard.

What’s The Best Aggregate Review Rating?

The average consumer prefers a business to be rated between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. A rating in this range indicates a healthy ratio of mostly positive reviews with a limited but realistic amount of negative reviews. Other variables are also at play including how often you respond to reviews and how many platforms you have a review star rating on (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.)

Ideal Review Rating Screenshot

Do 5-Star Ratings Cause Skepticism?

Have you ever heard the adage “if something seems too good to be true then it probably is”? This saying perfectly applies to how people perceive perfect –star review ratings online. See, people in 2020 are more skeptical than they have ever been. In a time when fake news is rampant, corporate scandals are the norm and almost nothing is as it really appears, people are wising up and second-guessing “perfection.” Think about beautiful Hollywood starlets and the most dashing leading men on the silver screen. People tend to think of this type of beauty as unrealistic or unobtainable. And if it’s unobtainable, then it must not be real. It must be a mirage.

People apply the same attitude to flawless online reviews. They think that if it looks perfect, it must not be real or it must not really be on the up and up. People who see perfect 5-star business reviews tend to think that they paid for those reviews, they wrote the reviews themselves or cheated the system in some other way. 

Can 5-Star Reviews Hurt Your Business?

It is important to note that not everyone is cynical in 2020. In fact, the number of people who outright trust the things they read online is still staggeringly high. More than half of internet users report that they trust opinions they read online as truth, including reviews. But even this majority has been historically hesitant to patronize businesses with perfect 5-star review ratings. It’s not because they don’t believe that such ratings are legit – but rather because they perceive the goods and/or services of such businesses as out of their reach.

They figure that if a business is that good then they wouldn’t be able to afford what they are offering. 

So as you can see, a perfect 5-star review rating can hurt your business in more ways than one. Yes, the new ideal is somewhere between 4.2 and 4.5 star review rating. Basically, you want to be just south of perfection. But how do you strike that perfect yet delicate balance? Here is some non-perfection to set your aim on.

Realistic Positive/Negative Review Ratios

Of course, you should have mostly good reviews. But preserving a good ration between good reviews and bad reviews is more important. You should always have a couple of negative reviews to balance out your good reviews. That’s because most people are reasonable. They empathize with their mistakes. They know that even the best businesses don’t bat .1000. Most people expect flaws every now and then and these flaws are what make your business more believable and trustworthy.  

In fact, studies show that up to 82% of consumers actually look for negative reviews when choosing between businesses online. They want to see what they can reasonably expect from your business. They look for about a 7:1 ratio of good reviews to bad. It tells them that any negative customer experiences were isolated incidents and not par for the course.

Replying to Negative Reviews

It isn’t enough to simply keep a good ratio. You need to make sure that you are responding to bad reviews. This shows consumers that you care about their experience.

That aforementioned statistic about 82% of people actually seeking out negative reviews doesn’t tell the whole story. That 82 % of people are actually looking to see how you reply to those bad reviews. In fact, an impressive 89% of people actually read businesses’ reply to negative reviews. People are paying attention to your words as a business owner as much as the words of their fellow consumers. 

In your replies, be sure to pay attention to the specifics of what made the customer unhappy and let them know how you intend to make it right.

Negative Review Response Screenshot

A Sub-Perfect Rating Has Appeal

A lot of testimonial widgets allow you to disapprove of or hide any ratings you choose from your website. And most business owners only approve and display 5-star review ratings. But you should show the authenticity of your reviews by also approving the ones that aren’t stellar. This doesn’t mean that you should flood your widget with a bunch of one-star reviews. But you should be more inclusive with the reviews you choose to display. Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Doing so will make you more relatable, approachable, and believable to potential customers.

Maintaining Your Review Ratio

It can be hard maintaining a delicate 4.2 to 4.5 review rating but it is an integral part of reputation management. We are here for all your digital marketing needs at BrandRevu. We can provide you with the resources and services you need to endear your business to a wide customer base. Contact us today.