Online reviews have certainly become the modern “word of mouth.” In this day and age, it is estimated that 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation! Additionally, up to 90% of consumers look at a product’s reviews before they decide to buy. This is great for a company that has tons of positive reviews, but what about the negative ones? Have you ever left a negative a review? Furthermore, have you considered what kind of damage you could be doing to the reputation of the business after leaving that “one star”?

Sometimes bad reviews are warranted, sure. If you have a genuine incident with theft or sexual harassment for example, you could leave a bad review (but also make sure to alert the proper authorities). Maybe the place was infested with cockroaches and you had the absolute worst experience of your life. But before you go to leave that one star review, try to take time to calm down and consider the fact that mistakes do genuinely happen.

Think about it like this: research has found that a company loses 22% of potential customers when one negative review is found on a page; and they lose 59% of potential customers with just 3 negative reviews. Each negative review a business gets loses the company an estimated 30 customers!

Now, we know that when you have a bad experience you want others to hear your story. Maybe you just need a place to vent. But do you really want to hurt the business that badly?

If the answer is “no” (and every business owner will appreciate that!), here are some actions to take instead of writing a negative review:

  1. Contact the company personally first. Whether something didn’t pan out like the contract said, or a restaurant messed up your order – get in touch with the person in charge and let them know what happened. More often than not, the owner or manager will be apologetic and understanding, and in turn will try to correct the problem or at least compensate you for your time and trouble.
  1. If this situation doesn’t get you anywhere, or you are unsatisfied with the resolution – breathe. Write out that nasty review you have planned in your head – but don’t post it yet. Sleep on it and read it again – you’ll most likely find that you weren’t as angry as you were in the heat of the moment.
  1. If you are still very upset and are very sure you were wronged – go ahead and post the negative review, but stick strictly to the facts. Your review is more likely to get taken seriously by others if you leave out the name calling and curse words, and instead just recount a play by play of what exactly went wrong.

In conclusion – no business, like no human being, is perfect. Be mindful of talking about businesses just like you would be mindful of talking about other people – some people are “bad,” but others just have a bad a night every now and then.

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