You Only Got 4 Stars

The idea was good – customers rate products and services online and thereby help others make more informed purchase decisions. The primary focus of those ratings was, however, the “personal experience” and not to purposely incapacitate businesses and retailers.

I run a CoWorking space on Maui. A few days ago, one of our guests – very satisfied with our service – left a four-star rating online. As a result, Google emailed us, saying, “You only got four stars.” Four stars translate to, “Great service, I enjoyed it.” So why then “only” four stars? One week later, the same customer booked with us again. And indeed, I felt terrible for a moment and asked her in what ways we could improve our service in the future. 

Another example: Amazon. We ordered a software package for our company. The delivery was delayed, and the seller's service was poor – moody and little helpful. Afterward, we received multiple emails asking us to leave a review – but it should be a five-star rating only (three exclamation marks). We gave them three stars and explained our rating. This prompted the seller to contact us again, urging us repeatedly to change our rating to five stars. 

And then there are those customers who blame the retailers for their own faults. What sports retailer hasn't dealt with this situation before: the pants show visible signs of wear and tear, and yet the customer insists that it's a product quality issue. That's how you rack up low one- or two-star ratings in no time. 

Reviews and ratings influence purchase decisions tremendously, and if you decide not to partake, your website's visibility shrinks significantly. However, retailers have the possibility to respond to reviews, and I recommend doing so. Why? Customers see through other customers and appreciate honest retailer feedback. 

This article first appeared on SAZsport.