Think Differently

When a 5-Star Review Isn't

Negative 5-Star Reviews? This sounds like an Oxymoron. 5-star reviews are gold to any retailer, and at first glance, a ...

Negative 5-Star Reviews? This sounds like an Oxymoron. 5-star reviews are gold to any retailer, and at first glance, a 5-star review means a customer is thrilled with a product or service. But does that reasoning live up to reality? Do 5-star reviews equate to a perfect product or customer experience? Looking behind the review, we've found much more.


Look Beyond the Number of Stars 

We have analyzed hundreds of thousands of reviews that revealed 70% of all reviews are 5 stars. A good sign, right? But beyond the rating, customers leave invaluable information on how they felt about their experience. When mined, this customer sentiment can reveal incredible details about the retailer's products and services and nuances into customers' expectations and behavior. 


We’ve discovered that 5-Star reviews are only sometimes what they seem and that even the most loyal customers aren't always happy. For retailers to retain these customers, they need to show interest in what customers have to say - which means reviewing the reviewers!



5-star review

This sweater is the most beautiful sweater! The fabric is amazing but for a petite size, it runs very large.


Size & Fit: This is the top reason for negative 5-star reviews. Many reviewers genuinely love a product but because a product could be running too large or too small, it needs to be returned. A five-star rating that has a size and fit issue is not always subjective.



5-star review

These are my favorite leggings of all time. I purchased them last year and wore them constantly. I bought a pair for this season and they immediately started pilling after the first wear. Did the fabric change?


Quality: A customer's favorite leggings of all time have now become a quality concern. Keeping quality products in customer hands is a retailer's top priority.



5-star review

My favorite sneakers!! I want to order them in white & gray but they are always out of stock. Please Restock!


Service- Out of Stock: Several other 5-star reviews agonized that their favorite items are never in stock. Customers anticipate their favorite retailer is going to restock products in a reasonable time. This is a big one for customer retention.



5-star review

Bought these towels from a competitor for much cheaper. I love this retailer but why pay more?


Satisfaction: Customers may love the product and the retailer. But, because of a high price point or a timely mark down, they chose to buy from a competitor.



So What Do You Do Now?

Pulling back the curtain of star ratings and focusing on customer feedback, these 5-star reviews look more like a 1-star, which shows the power of the comments within the star ratings. However, a person cannot read them all. Still, AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can interpret themes and threads across all the reviews. When raised to this level, it allows retailers to take action and align with customer expectations. These actions can be simple. Many of the retailers I've worked with found that changes to web copy, image changes, and by keeping score of vendors goes a long way.


Unlocking Customer Sentiment

Retailers are pushing hard to collect and publish reviews, helping customers make informed decisions about their purchases. But from these same reviews, including the 5-star reviews, retailers can identify areas of improvement and enrich their processes and brand experience.


No matter how many stars a customer selects, when they feel compelled to share their experience, retailers have a tremendous opportunity to impact their business. But with the volumes of data and limited time, retailers need tools to orchestrate unstructured and conversational language into usable information. If they do, their actions demonstrate they are listening to their customers.


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