How Much Do Star Ratings Really Matter for My MSP Business?

Do star ratings really make a big difference when it comes to attracting new customers? You may be surprised at how many people make a split-second judgement about a business based on how many stars it has on Google or another site.

Not enough stars, and people may not even read the accompanying reviews. Too many 5-star reviews, and people question the legitimacy of your ratings.

Understanding how your star rating impacts a customer’s buying decision is important to building an effective review management strategy.

Why People Care About Your Ratings

Not everyone has time to read every review about every company when researching MSP providers. People will often scan the star ratings first to weed out any with low numbers before going deeper with their research. 1-star and 2-star companies often don’t even get a second look.

Star ratings can be frustrating for a company that only has a few online reviews, because one bad rating can pull a high score down quickly. This is a reason that the more reviews the better to aggregate a more accurate star rating overall.

Why should you care about those star ratings? Because potential customers care about them. A star rating can tell someone at a glance whether other people trust and recommend your business. And often a glance is all the time you have when it comes to grabbing a new lead.

91.5% of clicks from Google happen from the first page of the search results, meaning a majority of people never even bother going to page two. People are looking for “instant information” as much as possible these days, and star ratings can tell them a lot with just one number.

What Statistics Show About Consumers & Ratings

There are a number of studies related to star ratings and how consumers react to them. They all illustrate that buyers do pay attention and seek out ratings before making a purchase, and they’re looking for that “just right” zone between too high and too low.

4.5 Stars Beats 5 Stars

A study by the IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center found that people are more likely to make a purchase from a business with 4.5 stars than they are from one with 5 stars.

This is because a 5-star rating often looks “too good to be true” and they question the validity of the score. Where, 4.5 is still a good score and one that seems more realistic to many consumers.

Ratings Have the Highest Impact on Local SERP Clicks

When a local SERP comes up on Google, which type of SERP information encourages people to click the most? It’s the star rating.

A review by BrightLocal of what causes consumers to click on a local search result found that the top catalysts for clicks were:

  • Review rating in a local pack (15.44%)
  • Link to a list of businesses in organic results (14.52%)
  • Link content of organic result (14.00%)
  • Chose organic result because it’s not an ad (11.98%)
  • Position on the page for PPC result (6.05%)

A 0.1 Increase in Star Rating Can Boost Conversions 25%

How much difference is there between a rating of 4.2 and 4.3? More than you might think!

According to the “Reputation Management Revolution Report” by Uberall, raising your MSP company’s star rating by just 0.1 point can increase conversions by 25%, showing that just a small increase can be big when it comes to customer perception.

The Biggest Benefit Jump is Between 3.5 and 3.7 Stars

Another finding in the Uberall report was that the highest percentage of conversion growth that a company can see based on star ratings is when they move from 3.5 stars to 3.7 stars. This increase has been shown to increase conversions by 120%.

The report identified three growth targets for businesses, which resulted in significant conversion benefit, these include:

  • 3.7 stars
  • 4.0 stars
  • 4.4 stars

4.0 to 4.7 Stars is the “Sweet Spot” for Purchases

Another study by the IMC Spiegel Research Center compared star ratings and purchase behavior.

It found that the “sweet spot” was between 4.0 – 4.7 stars, and after that higher, ratings started to get lower purchase results (that “too good to be true” factor at work).

Here’s a graphic from the Spiegel report illustrating this:

How Star Ratings Impact MSP Businesses

The illustration shows that on both low priced items (light bulbs) and high priced items (high-end gifts), as you get closer to 4 stars, purchases increase, but once you get too close to 5 stars, purchases go down.

Star Rating is the 2nd Most Important Review Factor

70% of consumers read at least four reviews before they trust a business enough to purchase a product or service. But what things do they look for in those reviews?

While you may think it’s the content, the star rating is actually more important. Here are the things customers pay attention to when reading reviews for a business, in order of importance:

  • How recent the review is (58%)
  • The star rating on the review (57%)
  • How many reviews there are in total (50%)
  • How legitimate the review seems (49%)
  • Whether or not the business responds to reviews (39%)
  • How long and detailed the review is (37%)

The star rating a customer gave is only second in importance to how recent the review is. This shows just how important it is to try to resolve a poor review with a customer and ask them if they would consider changing the star rating if satisfied. Even if the text of the review doesn’t change, a change to a higher star rating can be enough for someone researching your company.

3.0 Stars is a Minimum Requirement for Most Consumers

We’ve found out what the best star rating territory is above, but what is the bare minimum before people stop considering your company as an option for their IT services?

Studies show that 87% of U.S. consumers won’t consider working with a business that has less than 3.0 stars.

Bringing It All Together

We’ve brought the statistics above together into a star rating road map to help guide your review strategy. It shows you the rating range to target and which ones to stay away from.

What is the Best Star Rating for an MSP Business?

How Do I Get More Reviews & Ratings?

One of your goals with a customer review strategy is to have enough reviews so that one bad star rating doesn’t drag you down too many points. The more reviews you have, the less a single review will impact your overall star rating.

For example, take a look at the difference one 1-star review can make to your score, based upon the overall number of reviews you have.

  • 30 reviews that average 4.3 Stars, add a 1-star review and rating drops to 4.2 stars.
  • 10 reviews that average 4.3 Stars, add a 1-star review and rating drops to 4.0 stars.

Here are some tips on how to get more reviews, so you can boost your star ratings and make it resilient as well.

Automate Asking Customers for Reviews

Why aren’t you getting more reviews? It could be because you’re not asking or not asking enough.

70% of customers will give a review for a business if they’re asked to. Sometimes they do need to be asked more than once (life’s busy!).

To get a regular feed of new reviews and star ratings coming in, you should set up an automated system that asks customers for a review, and gives them the link to write one on Google My Business or another site, once their sale has been completed.

This can be done through a review service, like Tech Reputation, or by using an email drip campaign in a platform like Mailchimp that triggers a series of emails.

For example:

  • Email requesting review triggers after sale complete
  • 2nd review request triggers a week later if customer hasn’t provided review
  • Thank you for your review triggers after review is received

Use Multiple Channels for Review Requests

Besides emailing your customers to request a review, you should try a few other channels so you’re reaching everyone with the way that’s most effective for them.

Whenever you request a review, you should include a link to where they can leave one for you. Google My Business is one of the most visible spots for a local MSP business. Learn how to generate a review link for your Google My Business page here.

Some of the other channels beyond email that you can use to request reviews include:

  • Social media
  • Snail mail
  • On your receipts
  • Automated SMS
  • Your website
  • On the phone
  • In person

Here’s an example of how you can use an automated SMS function to ask for a review:

“Hi Jim! Thanks for your business. If you have any questions about your MSP service, text us at this number anytime. If you were pleased, we would appreciate a review if you have a moment (link). Thank you! -ABC IT Service”

Reply to Reviews

When you reply to reviews, you urge more customers to join in on the conversation and write one themselves.

Businesses that respond to their reviews are seen as trustworthy by potential customers who are reading the reviews. Customers will also get a sense that you’ll take the time to read a review they write so will be more likely to share their experience.

Everyone likes to get positive confirmation, so be sure to reply to good reviews, just not those you need to resolve.

Stars Can Lead to More Sales!

Understanding how consumers see your star ratings can help you plan a strategy to keep your ratings in the “sweet spot,” getting you more conversions and sales.

What’s your biggest challenge with customer ratings and reviews? Share your story with us in the comments!


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