Why is a 4.5 Star Rating is Better Than a 5 Star Rating?

Why is a 4.5 Star Rating is Better Than a 5 Star Rating?

Receiving a five-star rating for your business is the digital equivalent of winning the golden ticket! Well, that’s the belief. However, that’s not reality. While getting that flawless review seems like a sure-fire way to build awareness of a business and convince potential customers to take action, the truth is not so cut and dried. Turns out people think flawless equals fake. They’re more likely to put their trust in a business that has a slightly lower rating.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why customers are more inclined to put their trust in businesses that score 4.5 star ratings on online reviews. 


4.5 Ratings Establish Authenticity 

Ever heard of the expression “That’s too good to be true”? That’s what many customers think when they see five-star reviews. Actually, that’s what they say when they see nothing but five-star online reviews. Whether it’s a shop, a service provider, a restaurant or an apartment complex, if the respective business’s Facebook page, Yelp profile or Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is filled with an overabundance of five star ratings, then that raises suspicion. 

If customers see a pattern of flawless reviews, they’re more likely to think “Nobody’s that good”. They’ll assume the reviews are fake, take a pass on that business and search for someone who’s reviews seem authentic. 

Authenticity is a very important quality when it comes to practicing good business reputation management. As customers search for businesses (like a multi-family property) to solve their pain points, they want someone they can trust. An organization with social pages and crowd-sourced review platforms that are loaded with perfect reviews and ratings, does not reflect trustworthiness. Those reviews seem super fake. 

On the other hand, a business that has a mix of reviews with 4.2-4.5 star ratings (and even the occasional negative review – more on that below), appears to be more authentic. These 4.5 online reviews aren’t perfect. They let other customers know where the business excels – and where they may need to improve. Allowing their customers to be open and honest about their experiences gives businesses the opportunity to be more authentic and trustworthy. 

These reviews also allow businesses to take a step back and view their organization from the customer’s point of view. When customers point out a business’s flaws or deficiencies, it lets them better evaluate their business model and identify the areas where they need to improve. This is incredibly important because in order to grow and succeed, businesses need to be aware of their weaknesses and take action to address them


4.5 Ratings (and Lower) Offer Greater Transparency 

Much like the fallacy that five-star ratings are the gold standard, having a negative review is not the end of the world. In fact, having a negative online review demonstrates a business’s transparency. Instead of trying to sweep a bad review under the carpet, leaving it out there for all of the online world to see conveys honesty and openness. Yet, it’s not ideal to leave that review there unattended.

To further convey transparency, establish authenticity and build trust, businesses need to respond, in a professional manner, to all negative reviews. By doing so, businesses not only show their commitment to customer service, they also lay the groundwork for turning the customer’s negative experience into a positive. 

Starting a dialogue with the customer in the thread of their negative review is a great way to correct the situation openly and honestly. After extending this invitation to contact the business directly to further discuss their negative experience, a business can take corrective action in the form of a discount (such as waived security deposits and fees for multi-family properties). This is a golden opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive one – and potentially earn a new customer. That’s something that cannot be accomplished with an overabundance of five-star ratings. 

Now you know the reasons why 4.5 star ratings are a more powerful marketing tool than the 5-star variety. They provide more opportunities for a business to establish authenticity, offer greater transparency, build trust, engage customers and encourage them to take action. 

If you would like to know more about business reputation management and how it can help you engage with your customers, contact us today!