Reviews Matter

The case for leaving 2, 3, and 4-star reviews

Wednesday, March 24, 2021
A man in casual business wear sits with his laptop on a green sofa

If you have an experience that leaves you jumping for joy, you want to share that feeling. And that time you ordered a “killer outfit” right before a big party and received something that looked like it came off of a cheap halloween rack, well… you want to make sure no one else ever has that experience.

Humans are very emotionally driven creatures. Often, the shopping experiences that stick out in our minds are the ones that brought us so much joy that we couldn’t contain it — and the ones that made us never want to shop again. For many of us, these are the experiences that inspire us to leave an online review.

So you leave glowing 5-star reviews and you bring some serious shade to those 1-star reviews. But what about your 2, 3, and 4-star experiences? What do you do with those?

The phrase good reviews typically makes you think of a positive review, but it’s really just any review that gives helpful feedback to both businesses and fellow shoppers.

Leave honest, specific, and good reviews for your fellow consumers

There are more brands than ever to choose from, but when you don’t have prior experience buying from a company, it can be easy to feel weary and unsure – which is why good reviews are so important. Reviewing your online experience helps ensure that others are able to make a better informed decision on which businesses they want to engage with.

But what happens when we only review your best and worst experiences and don’t share those experiences that lie somewhere between perfection and despicable? “More and more people are getting suspicious of 5-star ratings,” says Professor Karen Cook, Director of the Institute of Research for Social Sciences at Stanford University. And she certainly seems to be right.

In a 2020 survey we conducted with Canvas8, we found that 53% of consumers selected a mix of positive and negative reviews as their top prompt to purchase.
In the same survey we found that when it comes to 5-star reviews, 56% of consumers will consider the product or service, but do more research before committing, while only 21% will see that review and believe it’s a “must buy”. Finally, 16% will immediately suspect that the review is fake. This is why it’s so important to leave reviews of your 2, 3, and 4-star experience.

Part of the reason we are so weary of 5-star reviews is that we want to know the worst-case scenario with a purchase. And these are often what 3 and 4-star reviews can help with. Maybe you really loved something you purchased online, but the checkout process was too lengthy or the shipment took longer than it was intended to. No matter how much you loved the actual product, leaving a 4-star review here and calling out the small issue helps your peers make more informed purchasing decisions.
Calling out even small issues in an experience helps the company keep improving experiences for their customers.

Honest and constructive reviews are good reviews – and they help brands be better for their customers

Leaving more honest and precise reviews also helps businesses improve, which, of course, we all benefit from. It may seem rude or trivial to highlight the one negative part you had of an experience that was mostly positive, but those details are often the most helpful for businesses.

A 4-star review with some constructive feedback gives companies something to work on and improve, where a 5-star review does not. The same logic is true for 2 and 3-star reviews. Smart businesses use reviews to better their business for their customers, and the more granular and specific you can be with your feedback, the more businesses can improve and better serve their customers in the future.

SpareFoot, a self-storage business, sees their reviews as something that must be incorporated into decision making. At their weekly meetings, they have executives read both positive and negative reviews out loud. They also forward all reviews to their product team, so that they can keep a constant pulse on any recurring pain points for their customers or areas where they can make improvements.

LoveBook is another great example of a business who realized they were sitting on great consumer insights that could help improve their business. Now, whenever they release a new feature or capability, they track review sentiment around that specific feature. In cases like this, customers who leave accurate and specific reviews help LoveBook improve their business, ultimately making it better for their customers.

So the next time you have an experience leave a good review which, regardless of the star rating, means being as honest as possible. Your experiences and feedback matter, and when we all come together in the name of transparency, that’s how we can truly upgrade the world. If you want to get started writing reviews on Trustpilot, you can check out our guide here.

So the next time you have an experience, leave a good review which, regardless of the star rating, means being as honest as possible. Your experiences and feedback matter, and when we all come together in the name of transparency, that’s how we can truly upgrade the world. If you want to get started writing reviews on Trustpilot, you can check out our guide here.

Trustpilot is a review platform that is open to all. The companies and profile pages referenced in this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not recommended, endorsed by, or representative of the views of Trustpilot. The Trustpilot companies linked in this post are expected to abide by Trustpilot’s Guidelines, but have not been reviewed for compliance.

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