Every small business needs reviews but are often confused about where to start.  Nowadays everyone turns to the Internet to do some research before deciding to use any business’s services.  

I always suggested starting to collage reviews on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn when appropriate.  Of course, you can also ask clients to write on Yelp if that is appropriate for your business.

However, you need to face the fact that some reviews may not be stellar. Many small businesses do not receive a ton of reviews online, so if one bad one pops up they tend to completely freak out. But no need to worry in a few steps the problem can be resolved and your reputation saved.

First and foremost, the best way to handle a bad review is with a preemptive strike and make sure you have enough good ones so it does not stand out.  However, if this is not the case then there is no better time than the present to start to build up a list of positive comments while you appropriately handle the bad one.

  1. Check to see if the review is actually valid.  Do you remember the customer or client and the details they have posted?  If you believe it is fraudulent then immediately alert the company.
  2. While you wait, or if it is valid, respond positively. Keeping a cheery, friendly, and helpful demeanor will never hurt you. Begin to look for a solution to the reviews complaints. If you can, offer a discount, a different service, an email to discuss their problem, or a free service. Even in the case where you believe it is incorrect, respond and ask the individual to call you immediately so you can make amends.
  3. Make every action you take public on the site where the review is posted. Once you take an initial action to resolve the problem post a reply along the lines of: “we just left you a message and can not wait to talk” or “we are sorry and just sent you a certificate for a free stay.” Make sure everyone can see your willingness to resolve issues and help your customers to have the best experience possible.
  4. Once resolved, record that as well, right under the initial review and your responses.  For instance, “great to talk to you and so glad you are going to give us a second chance.”  Just keep all your efforts to resolve any complaints out in the open. That will help you more than the review will hurt you.

Keep in mind all press is good press; and you want to get in front of the problem.  Some people just love to complain and there is nothing you can do about that. But, if you keep it positive and demonstrate you are willing to try to solve the problem then it should not do much damage.  One bad review will not hurt you, especially if you handle it well and work to build up a list of good ones.