How to Keep Bad Reviews from Hurting Your Business

Louis Gombocz

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

A less than flattering online review about your business is not something you would normally celebrate.

However, bad customer comments will not necessarily cause your sales to plummet, provided you manage online reviews properly, promptly and efficiently.

Marketing expert Mike Ramsey, owner of, says, “You can’t stop bad reviews because we don’t live in a five-star world.”

How to Find Your Reviews Online

But before you can deal with reviews, good or bad, you’ve got to find your reviews online.

Ramsey’s first suggestion for business owners in an interview with Small Business Trends is to look for reviews by searching their company or brand name attaching the word “reviews” to the end of the name, (like “Joe’s Pizza reviews,” for example.)

Second, Ramsey says, you can search for reviews of your business by searching on Google Local, Yelp, Facebook and similar general social and review sites.

Third, Ramsey and fellow Internet marketing expert Vedran Tomic, of Localants LLC, suggest check websites specifically targeted at businesses in their industry — such as for doctors and for attorneys.

Tomic notes consumers’ search for more business reviews today than ever before and on more than one website.  As a result, he says, it’s important for entrepreneurs to have a review management system in place because almost every business will eventually be faced with a bad review.

What to Do with a Bad Review

Tomic and Ramsey both recommend, when faced with a bad review, an owner should reach out to the disgruntled customer. Attempt to correct the situation, but be sure to do this all offline. You want to ensure the negotiation and resolution doesn’t appear publicly.

“Also, show empathy to the customer,” recommends Ramsey, who also advocates knowing all sides of the story. Offering an apology and rectifying the problem are both important. But a more unorthodox strategy Ramsey also suggests is  offering to help the buyer find a competitor that may serve them better.

“Be willing to do what’s right for the customer and be sure to diffuse the situation,” he advises. Whatever strategy seems most appropriate, Ramsey says, the key is “baking” the review process into your business operations.

Meanwhile, marketing expert Mike Blumenthal suggests a simple approach to review management:

  • Strive for reviews — You cannot change what you cannot measure
  • Get an attractive website and build credibility with good testimonials and reviews on the site
  • “Pepper” good reviews and testimonials throughout your website

In the event of a bad review, Blumenthal advises:

  • Small business owners need to “own the issue”
  • Offer a mature, empathetic response
  • Do what it take to correct the problem — “Make it right.”

Remember Bad Reviews Don’t Have to be a Bad Thing

In fact, Blumenthal says negative reviews don’t always have to be a bad thing. They can be helpful to a small business in the long run.

In most cases, “There’s a positive in every negative review,” Blumenthal said in a recent interview with Small Business Trends.

Negative reviews can also help qualify customers because “a noisy restaurant wants noisy diners,” Blumenthal explains.

They also afford a business owner an opportunity to respond in a mature way, which will be seen by future customers.

He said the public perceives a business with all five-star reviews as something that may be too good to be true. However, he notes, 80 percent of people read and believe reviews written by strangers.

“Do not fear a bad reviews but change your frame of reference,” Blumenthal says.

Blumenthal believes in the power of good testimonials. And he says businesses can also work to find these online.

In the end, though, Blumenthal believes managing your business’s reputation online requires an ongoing effort.

“It requires a consistent process either on your own or using an outside source, and you’ll get good reviews,” he adds. “But consistency is the key.”

Courtesy: Small Biz Trends