To get true results, online and Peer Review platforms should never neglect to include an average rating.

Rating scales that omit the “average” category, like the one used by TripAdvisor, can lead to skewed perceptions of customer experiences. nlightencx. CEO Nathalie Schooling tackles the importance of implementing balanced rating scales.

Have you ever noticed that some rating scales businesses use fail to capture the full range of customer/client/guest experiences? Take, for example, the widely recognised and trusted peer review site TripAdvisor, with its rating scale ranging from 1 to 5, labelled as Terrible, Poor, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. However, this scale omits the traditional midpoint of “average.” Such misalignment in rating scales can create unrealistic expectations for potential customers and hinder the customer from reviewing their experience and the ability to convey their true experiences. Let’s delve into this issue and explore how it can impact both customers and businesses.

The Pitfall of Misaligned Rating Scales

Rating scales that omit the “average” category, like the one used by TripAdvisor, can lead to skewed perceptions of customer experiences. By categorising establishments solely as “poor” or “good”, it fails to account for experiences that fall in between. As a result, customers are forced to either rate an establishment lower than their actual experience or inflate their ratings to match the available categories. This discrepancy sets unrealistic expectations for both customers and businesses, ultimately harming the credibility and usefulness of the rating system.

Managing Customer Expectations

To ensure customers can provide accurate and realistic ratings, it is crucial for businesses to implement balanced rating scales that encompass the full spectrum of experiences. Including an “average” or “satisfactory” category allows customers to express their true opinions without distorting the overall perception. By aligning the rating scale with customers’ actual experiences, businesses can gain more accurate insights into their performance and areas for improvement.

The Importance of Feedback and Review Transparency

Customer feedback and transparent reviews play a pivotal role in shaping customer perceptions and helping businesses make informed decisions. By encouraging customers to share their authentic experiences, businesses can gain valuable insights and improve their offerings accordingly. Transparent reviews, which accurately reflect the diverse range of customer experiences, empower potential customers to make informed choices based on a holistic understanding of an establishment’s strengths and areas of improvement.

Fostering Customer-Centric Experiences

To thrive in a competitive landscape, businesses should prioritise delivering exceptional customer experiences that are customer-centric.

A customer-centric approach involves:

  • Actively listening to customers.
  • Understanding their needs and preferences.
  • Continuously striving to exceed expectations.

By providing consistently high-quality experiences, businesses can cultivate trust, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth referrals, ultimately contributing to long-term success and reputation.

Final thoughts

The use of misaligned rating scales, such as those lacking an “average” category, can create unrealistic expectations for customers. This not only hampers their ability to accurately convey their experiences but also poses challenges for businesses seeking genuine feedback. Implementing balanced rating scales that encompass the full range of experiences allows customers to provide more accurate and realistic ratings. By fostering a customer-centric approach and encouraging transparent reviews, businesses can build trust, enhance customer satisfaction, and create meaningful connections with their clientele.


Blog by: Nathalie Schooling