Bad reviews happen to good businesses. Maybe your company messed up. Maybe someone was having a crummy day. Or maybe a customer is just crabby. But no matter the reason, there is a silver lining.

A bad review can be a good thing.

It’s true! If people are searching for you online, it’s likely they’ve already made a decision to work with you. Chances are, they’re judging you less on the review and more on how you respond to it. Plus, the numbers are on your side. 52% of buyers say they trust a product more if it has a few negative reviews.

Consumers use common sense when looking at reviews. If someone is too effusive, it might be the owner in disguise. If someone writes a negative review based on a ridiculous premise, the consumer might even take the side of the business. At this point, customers have seen all sorts of crazy reviews.

What consumers are looking for now is a little common sense from businesses. If you receive a negative review, people are examining your reviews with these questions in mind:


Did you respond to the bad review?


Did you conduct yourself professionally?


Did you take the conversation offline?


Why did someone leave a negative review?


Have lots of people had positive experiences?

If you show that you are engaged, polite, and dedicated to finding a solution, you just got free advertising. Companies spend millions of dollars trying to build that kind of reputation. You can do it for free by actively participating in the online conversation about your business.

The key is claiming your social media profiles. Even if you aren’t the administrator, there’s a Facebook page for your business – and people are writing reviews. Claim it so that you can engage with the folks who are taking the time to talk about your service. Make sure you claim the pages on Yelp, Bing, Google, Avvo, and Yellow Pages, too.

If you receive a bad review, don’t panic. Be gracious and take action.