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What to Do When a Five-Star Review Doesn’t Shine So Brightly

“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two-thirds of the time thinking about what they want to hear, and one-third thinking about what I want to say.”

– Abraham Lincoln

A recent conversation with a friend about a local restaurant reminded me that positive online reviews aren’t always what they seem. I’d never eaten at the restaurant, so I was curious to hear my friend’s opinion of it. Her comments were positive. The food was amazing. The ambience was brilliant. As she kept talking, however, I noted that she also had some minor complaints. The waiter was a little slow. Initially, there was no silverware on her table. Things like that.

Overall, she gave the place five stars, and said she’d definitely eat there again. But within her glowing review came the natural human tendency to point out little imperfections.

The same is often true of positive reviews in the field of senior living. A reviewer will start out by mentioning the wonderful aspects of a community. They’ll list all the things they love – activities, dining, caring staff members and more. Often, however, that tendency to point out that the place isn’t perfect will kick in, and they might add a line or two about something not so positive – “It’s kind of expensive,” or “My floor plan wasn’t available.”

It’s important, then, to always read through a positive review carefully. Five stars is great for your overall reputation score, but be sure not to miss out on an opportunity to make the individual feel heard. Thanking them for the positive review without addressing everything they mentioned could have an unintended effect: it could create the impression that you don’t plan to do anything about their concerns, however minor they might be.

As Mr. Lincoln’s quote above so accurately articulates, people want to hear what they want to hear. It’s up to us, as marketers, to spend time thinking about just what that is.

Three Things to Remember When You Receive a Positive Review:

  • Star ratings don’t always reflect content, even though a five-star rating is an important aspect of your overall reputation score.
  • Read the review thoroughly and be sure to gain a full understanding of the experience being described.
  • Be open and honest when addressing any imperfections that are mentioned.

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