Reputation Management and Optimization

Topic: Best Practices


Why Listening to 3-star Reviews Benefits Your Brand

Your customers make decisions based on what they read in online reviews. This is should not be news to you.  Every day, potential customers are using the information they find in online reviews to decide where to do business, what to purchase, and who to trust. In fact, a recent study by BrightLocal states that 97% of consumers read online reviews before visiting local businesses and 85% of people surveyed say they trust what they read in online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends.

Why are online reviews so powerful? It’s because they are one of the most authentic ways for consumers to share their experience with brands today. You know the influential power of a 5-star review and the negative impact of a 1-star review, but have you considered what information can be found in 3-star reviews? Contrary to what you might think, there is a wealth of insight to be gained by monitoring those moderate reviews as well.

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Consider the example of a theater-goer rating the movie he just saw:  “The film was artful and well done, but kind of boring; I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.” That means that while the movie wasn’t bad, overall, it didn’t exactly blow him away either. When you start considering your 3-star reviews and learn to see them as gold mines of valuable information, you have the potential to turn a bunch of customers who are feeling just so-so about your brand into raving fans.

Strive For Five — And Be Okay Less.

With the importance today’s consumers place on online reviews, there’s no such thing as “faking it ‘til you make it” anymore. Where your brand or business stands in the eyes of your customers is out there for all the world to see. While it an ideal world, we’d all get only glowing 5-star reviews, the reality is that 3-stars are perceived as more telling of the actual realities of a given company. Through the real-time power of the internet and resulting transparency of information, today’s customers have come to value—and trust—authenticity over a projected image of perfection.

In fact, researchers at Northwestern University found that 82 percent of consumers specifically seek out negative feedback. So if what your potential customers are encountering when they sit down to do their research is a mixed bag, it probably bodes well for your brand. They’ll know you’re not trying to game the system by posting fake positive reviews, bashing your competition, or employing dirty tactics to get ahead. They’ll trust what they are reading is accurate—the good, the neutral, and the not-so-good.

3-Star Reviews Point Your Forward.

Three-star, or neural, online reviews can be used as a compass to point you forward. They’ll both illuminate what you are already doing right and shine a light on the blind spots you’ve been missing. Have a great product or service that’s successful and selling, but customers are pinpointing an aspect that could use a tweak to make it even better? Fantastic! Now you know exactly what to change to turn that great product into a spectacular one.

Or perhaps through customer insights, you see that you’re attempting to do too much through one service offering, when it really should be split into two separate programs. What you learn through your 3-star reviews is honest, objective, and rational feedback from people trying to help. Unlike your raving fans who view your company in an overtly positive light and detractors who only have negative things to say, your 3-star reviewers are giving their feedback to you straight.

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The information that can be found in moderate reviews is not only more rational, and therefore a trustworthy, source of information for you as a company, but it’s more valuable to your potential customers as well. According to Fan and Fuel, 2016, 73% of customers value the written review over the overall star rating. Your customers are looking for information on the reviewer’s experience, problems experienced, and areas where your brand exceeded expectations.

So as you monitor your reviews, pay special attention to those in the middle. Your “neutral” reviews might not be so middle-of-the-road at all, but rather, keys to your next million dollar idea, innovative product solution, or business breakthrough.

Want Help Managing Your Business Or Brand’s Online Reputation?

We can help! Reputation Studio is an Enterprise Online Reputation Management (ORM) platform that consolidates customer reviews into one dashboard, automates the routing of reviews to teams, posts responses in real-time, and applies AI to provide actionable insights and track the sentiment and intent.

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Best Practices