The Perfection Bias: Why Do We Distrust Perfect Reviews?

Have you ever searched for a business and found a list of only 5-star reviews? Your instinctive reaction might be distrust. This phenomenon is known as the perfection bias, and it’s more common than you might think. Let’s explore why this happens and how this cognitive bias can affect your business.

What is the Perfection Bias?

The perfection bias is the human tendency to distrust something that seems too perfect. We humans prefer natural and organic things, and when something seems forced, we tend to reject it. This is rooted in human nature itself.

“Perfection is a polished collection of errors”

  • Mario Benedetti

As the Uruguayan writer suggests, seeking perfection, while confronting our own imperfect nature, leads to a vicious and utopian obsession if we are not willing to make mistakes. If a person boasts of excellence, any failure will be highlighted and punished more severely.

Distrust of Perfection

The perfection bias can manifest in various situations. Generally, when we see something or someone that is too perfect, our minds become skeptical. This is a defense mechanism that helps us avoid deception or manipulation. This concept applies to both people and businesses, where this distrust can be very harmful.

Psychology studies have shown that humans value authenticity and imperfection. The theory of imperfection holds that people tend to distrust perfection because they assume that nothing and no one can be perfect. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research titled “Beyond Skepticism: Can Accessing Persuasion Knowledge Bolster Credibility?” showed that people prefer products with small imperfections because it makes them seem more real and trustworthy.

In the context of business reviews, perfect reviews can seem suspicious. Customers may wonder if the reviews are authentic or if they have been manipulated in some way. The lack of constructive criticism or variability in reviews can make potential customers question the truthfulness of the experiences described.

The Problem of Being Too Perfect at the Beginning

A new business often strives to impress its first customers. The entrepreneur is very attentive to everything, ensuring that the service is impeccable and actively asking for reviews. It is normal to want feedback on the customer experience, and this can generate many positive reviews quickly. However, this level of perfection may not be sustainable in the long run. When the service eventually returns to a more routine level or new employees are hired, there may be a disconnect between the expectations created by perfect reviews and reality. If a customer expects perfection, any failure will be amplified, leading to disappointment and a stronger negative reaction.

A Real Case: The Perfect Hair Salon

Consider a hair salon that opens with exceptional service. The owner, very experienced in the sector, is present every day, ensuring that each customer has a 5-star experience. At first, this works wonderfully, and positive reviews start to accumulate. But as the business grows and the owner can no longer be as present, the service level might drop slightly. Customers arriving expecting absolute perfection from the reviews may feel disappointed, which in turn can lead to negative reviews and a mixed reputation.

Before this can happen, some will experience an even more damaging phenomenon. Your hair salon has 250 reviews, all 5 stars. Although this might seem positive, it generates a reaction of distrust. “Are all these reviews real?” the customer might wonder. Absolute perfection doesn’t seem authentic, and this can lead potential customers to doubt the veracity of the reviews, deciding not to visit your place. This would be disastrous.

The Importance of Authenticity

Instead of focusing on obtaining an overwhelming number of perfect reviews, it is more beneficial for a business to maintain an authentic and realistic approach. Reviews should truly reflect the customer experience. A combination of honest reviews can make your business seem more real and trustworthy to potential customers. Trust is what will ultimately create loyalty with your customers and a good reputation.

The entire process of obtaining your Google Reviews rating or how a negative review can affect your score can be complicated. Would you like to better understand the reviews of your business? Do you want to know how many 5-star reviews you need to improve your rating? Join Localboss and discover how we can help you maintain the trust and integrity of your reviews.

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