We all want to be the best.  This is not a bad thing. We also would prefer that every customer or patient was happy with us or our services. It’s human nature. Translating this into the technology age, online review sites and social media (Google, Facebook, Yelp, et. al) we all inherently want a 5-Star rating.

So, one day we go online and see that our 5-star rating has been ruined by something like this:

Or this (my favorite and yes this IS a review for a dental office):

(Yes – apparently this office is a place that will kill your spirit and make you bitter and spiteful. Never taught you how to handle that in dental school…did they).

Seeing things like this – it’s especially hard not to take it personally.

And to add insult to injury, that one-star review brings our 5-star rating down to a 4.8 or 4.6!

Now as far as what you DO with these and how to handle them – I’ll be following up on this subject over the next few weeks.  Keep an eye on our blog for updates. I’ll tell you this though: I reviewed HUNDREDS of bad review responses from dentists and maybe…just maybe less than 2 percent WERE NOT IN VIOLATION OF HIPAA. Said another way – in my estimation, approximately 98% of these responses had HIPAA violations! So, yes this is a problem. So much so that ProPublica did an entire article and study on the subject in coordination with Yelp. The findings were… not so great. See here for more info.

(Related: How We Get At Least 5 New Positive Online Reviews Every Week)

But back to the matter at hand. How important is your 5-Star rating?

In a nutshell – not very. For that matter if you have a large number of reviews you DON’T want a 5-star rating. It makes you appear to be fake.

Click here for this article from TechCrunch from Jan 3, 2016 by Tom Collinger which says as much. And just to summarize the key point, Mr. Collinger states:

“In fact, product purchases were most influenced by reviews with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5, according to research from GetApp. Products with five-star ratings were less influenced, likely due to today’s skeptical consumers’ “ too good to be true” sensibilities. Having a few less-than-perfect reviews decreases a product’s average star rating, but grows the business more.”

Want some real-life examples? Well, do you ever buy anything from Amazon?  OK.  If the product has 250 reviews and a five-star rating – what is your immediate thought? If you’re the average person, words like “Scam,” “fake” or “friends left reviews” come to mind.

Taking this a step further – look at this.  If you’re a “foodie,” you’ve most likely heard of these three restaurants:

  • Eleven Madison Park in New York City
  • The French Laundry in Yountville (Napa) California and
  • Le Bernardin in New York City

All three of these restaurants share a unique distinction.  They are among the 14 restaurants in the United States that have three Michelin Stars (see here for more).

In other words – they are considered the best of the best…of the best.

Even better, on April 5, 2017, 11 Madison Park was just selected as the best restaurant on planet Earth by Eater Magazine (See here for story).

So, with all that in mind – how do these business fare on Yelp? Five stars, right? Well let’s look:


Hmmmm…all of them have a 4.5 or similar rating.  I’m sure Thomas Keller (who in addition to owning the French Laundry has another three Michelin Star restaurant in New York – Per Se), is quaking in his proverbial boots! Yeah…not really.

Looking at Google, you’ll see similar ratings for each.

So, what does this tell us?  Well, no matter who you are or what you do – someone is going to have a problem with it. And while some complaints are valid and require action, the advent of the internet and all the good it’s brought is accompanied by an invasion of Internet Trolls. Many of which would find something to complain about, even if you were saving starving babies, puppies or whatever…

So, this isn’t to tell you that you should ignore negative reviews. You shouldn’t. And as I mentioned, I’ll show you how to handle these in a follow up article. What does it tell you? Don’t freak out about a negative review! Continue to run and manage your business. That 4.5 rating your riding with can actually be beneficial.  It makes you appear real and like all of us – imperfect!

As a final note – I have run into clients with a 5-star rating asking me what they should do? Well…don’t go leaving yourself a bad review!  If those 5-stars were organically obtained – don’t worry about it and enjoy! Eventually someone’s going to take a shot at it – and when they do – don’t worry about that either!

For more information on this subject – along with how to handle a bad review and much, much more, attend the MGE New Patient Workshop or the MGE Internet Marketing Seminar. Call (800) 640-1140 to register.

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