Why I Rarely Give 5 Stars Anymore

A review can make or break you.

I’ve been in the service industry for the past 5 years. An industry that relies heavily on reviews, either from word of mouth or established review websites such as TripAdvisor or Zomato. A good or bad review is what marketing or after-sales will take back to operations or production. If it’s good, there is a happy dance. If it’s bad, It’s operations fault.

Reviews keep establishments in check, whether you’re a hotel, restaurant, gym, nightclub or bank. Online reviews are what ensures that establishments maintain service standards, creates a medium of opinion between customer and owner and leads to more or fewer sales in the future.

So it is our duty as consumers to ensure that we review correctly. A 5-star rating means a 100% satisfaction and at the rate that we give them out are we really that content? Here are some reasons as to why I rarely give 5 Stars anymore.

It Actually Reduces the Quality of the Service

I get into an Uber, he picks me up from the correct place, the car isn’t clean, there’s sand on the carpet, tissues on the floor and pastry crumbs on the seat plus he drives a bit recklessly. Most people will brush aside the crumbs and at the end of his journey will give him 5 stars. The 5 stars is based purely on the fact that we arrived at the destination in one piece, the AC worked and he didn’t speak to us. So that driver will continue to have an unclean car and keep driving recklessly.

But, you give him a lower score than 5, maybe a 4. Then he notices his ranking dropping. From 4.9 to 4.7 to finally 4.6 where Uber decides to ring him up and ask if everything is okay. Drivers below a 4.6 rating are flagged and monitored for quality assurance and have a higher chance of getting booted out.

Keep scoring honestly and services will keep improving.

Scoring Honestly Makes You a Better Person

We are in the age of creative criticism. Whilst there are many that can’t take a negative opinion, there is a hell of a lot more than can and will be grateful for an honest opinion. If you keep dishing out the 5 Star reviews for everything you really aren’t improving anything but inconsistency. You are painting a false image of top quality service that is leading to an entitlement factor to many businesses.

Top end businesses especially in the Hospitality industry that enjoy a very high rating dismiss lower ratings as “biased”, “nitpicking” or “inexperienced” stating that the customer doesn’t really know what he/she is talking about and we, the establishment have done nothing wrong. But hey, it might have actually been a bad day and the service was bad. A low star review would be just the wake-up call to relook at your service levels.

It is impossible for anyone to have the same fantastic experience, which is the beauty of life. So not everyone will be giving you 5 Stars.

It Will Improve Businesses In The Long Run

Competition breeds better performance, which is why the more feedback one gets, the better the business is inclined to perform to earn those 5 Stars. This applies greatly for the Hospitality industry where every negative review turns away 10% of your future bookings, which is a thundering number.

The constant 3-4 Star reviews will get companies to keep investing in their staff, product and marketing to keep improving service levels. Even in establishments that do really well, 5 Star reviews tend to be glossed over as “just another day” but a 4 Star review? Sticks out like a sore thumb for both the company and potential clients. If everything is happy with their service, how were the unable to satisfy this one person. Companies will look into that review in detail hoping to learn a mistake.

With the world moving towards more ranking centric business models, it’s time we review everything honestly, be critical with how we leave ratings and think twice if we really did get 5 stars worth of service.

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