Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why star reviews are less useful than they could be ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

On average, my Uber drivers have rated me 4.7 stars out of 5. I wonder why I wasn’t the perfect passenger! LOL. What are the requirements so I can work on getting that up? 😂🤔😱 (I love Uber and this is just an example, friends!)

And then the other day I went to a three-star restaurant (Yelp) and even accepted a ride from an Uber driver with a 4.1 rating.

Both went great, though.

Then I stayed at a five-star hotel (Facebook and Google) and hated it! That’s not what I would call a five-star hotel.

What are people basing their ratings on? That’s exactly the problem with star ratings. My five-star rating isn’t necessarily yours.

Some people like chatty Uber drivers. Sometimes I do, too. Depending on what we are talking about. Other times I have to attend to email.

Star ratings for restaurants are similar. If I’m not a big fan of one kind of the cuisine but ended up having to eat dinner there, it will never be a five-star place for me.

It’s all a bit arbitrary. I once had dinner with four people – two even ordered virtually the same meal. I got out my phone to leave a review.

“How many stars do you think?”



How could it vary so widely? Maybe it was the company. Ha. For the record, I was going to give it a 5.

Which leads me to the whole thing of following the masses. I almost changed my rating to something lower. Leaving ratings online, something to keep in mind.

There have been times I was getting ready to leave a review and was wondering why the average was so much lower (or higher) than what I was considering. Should I change mine? Maybe I’m wrong? NO! Stick with your opinion.

Healthcare can be similar! Many rate parking low. And parking is difficult in most major metro areas. After that, it can get more personal.

Yes, we want good personal care, but people communicate differently. Some need to talk things out at length. Others would think that is talking it out at unnecessary length. They want just the facts.

One doctor once shared his opinions on Obamacare with me. That’s risky. If I had an opposing opinion or didn’t enjoy discussing things like that or at least want to understand other viewpoints, I may have given him one star just because the discussion felt uncomfortable or whatever.

Wouldn’t it be nice if reviews were personalized to us as opposed to being so mass audience focused?

That would mean I’ll get different reviews served than somebody else with different interests and preferences. I would get the ones most relevant to me.

If I like chatty drivers, I get served those options when researching things online. It could be a sortable rating system based on personal preferences.

Does even Amazon – the king in personalization – do this?

Reviews likely won’t go away and they shouldn’t because they can empower the consumer to help other consumers with more informed buying decisions.


How to decide which online reviews to respond to

Contact me here to get help with your organization’s review management

Maybe the next step in meaningful and true personalization.


But yet we should listen to our ratings and even post them.

Transparency: Post your ratings for all to see

I really don’t buy anything online anymore, book a hotel or do anything that costs me money or time without reading the reviews. I know many others do the same. That’s likely why review sites and embedded reviews (think Amazon, for example) have become so popular.

We trust other people’s opinions – especially if we hear the same opinion over and over. Social proof: When everyone likes a product, we think we are more likely to enjoy it as well.

Some people have hired others to file fake positive reviews for them. That’s not good, of course. Once you are caught your credibility will have tanked. But, asking people to give fair reviews is a great way to remind those who love your service to leave a public review.

Then there’s the offline component. I’ve seen more and more offline mentions of online reviews in recent years.

Here’s one example from a hotel in the Boston area. They posted ratings in the lobby.

In Iowa a business posted their ratings as well and asked people to go online and leave their own ratings. Both of these are great because they connect offline and online channels. The times where both are operating in a vacuum are long gone.

The first one highlights a four-star rating, the second reminds people who love the business to leave reviews. Well done.

It’s probably best to embrace reviews, encourage fair ones and use the negative ones to learn from and improve. If a customer leaves a negative review – for example saying that parking was bad – maybe parking really was bad. Perhaps there’s something we can do about the parking.

At the least we should respond to reviews – positive and negative ones – and offer our insights as necessary. Then, when it’s appropriate do more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Changes are OK!

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Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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