Four reasons to not leave a five-star review

Online reviews can have a significant impact on our purchasing decisions; and when the system works, we’re all better for it. But online reviews can be treacherous. There are fake reviews to sort through, and some legitimate reviewers simply aren’t judicial with their star-giving power. Here are four reasons why five-star reviews should be reserved for only the greatest experiences.

When you think five stars, you should imagine Beyonce singing her heart out. That, my friends, is five stars. The rest of the time we need to balance the good with the bad.

Alan Henry of Lifehacker, part of Gawker, wrote how online reviews can be a crapshoot. While some are useless and angry, others are so glowing they can’t be real. He added, “The best ones walk between, and regardless of the experience the reviewer had, they offer up the kind of information that’s invaluable when making a decision.” Here are four ways to do that:

1. Take a step back and look at the big picture.

Don’t pigeonhole the review. The fact that you like purple or prefer pistachios to almonds has nothing to do with anything really. Helpful reviews focus on the intended purpose of the business or product and don’t stray far.

2. Service matters.

In any transaction, service is essential. Did the company bend over backward to make your experience with them akin to sitting down at grandma’s table on Thanksgiving? Every step in the process should be flawless. From the beginning to the end, when they nail the landing with two firm feet, nary a wobble, hands thrown back. It happens, just not very often.

3. There must be more than one compelling reason.

We realize that meatball subs can be life-changing, but just because your mind was blown by the fresh bread and from-scratch sauce doesn’t mean the entire experience – menu, cleanliness, customer service, valet – deserves five stars. There has to be much more than one compelling reason to give a business top honors.

4. Curb your enthusiasm.

If your review has a lot exclamation points and a hyper tone, most people will tune it out. Slow down and focus on the essential experience, from start to finish. Give it an honest review with simple detail and thoughtful objectivity.

Be stingy with your five-star reviews so the whole system carries more value.