Many small business owners, myself included, understandingly, put our hearts and souls into our businesses which is why when we get a negative review, it can hurt us to the core. Sometimes, like every other human being out there, our tendency is to first blame the customer and say, “This is an exception,” or something else like that.

Now, is this right or wrong? It depends. Regardless, it ultimately is we, the small business owners, who are generally at fault.

This is because, one, if it’s a bad staff interaction that caused the bad review, the business owner sets the culture that allowed the bad staff to be hired.

You can’t hire everybody perfectly. But you can do a better job than other at avoiding hiring the wrong type of people for a particular type of business.

The second thing is, if the product or service is poor, the business owner is the one who created it, or the business owner allowed it.

I work with an organization that really could not care whether it delivered on what it promised or not. It had enough out there that they would just ignore any bad reviews and keep on selling to new people etc. It couldn’t care. I left that organization.

I’m going to give you an example of something that happened at a restaurant yesterday, in October of 2016. I went to a famous restaurant, and I ordered something for lunch. I got something that did not meet the standards that that owner would have wanted me to eat.

The server asked me about my meal. I said it wasn’t quite up to what I expected. He immediately corrected it. He immediately got another one. He didn’t argue, didn’t blame me, etc., just corrected it. For that, the business and the staff got a great review. But that bad dish should have never gotten out to me. The manager should have done some quality control to ensure that bad food didn’t come out.

The third thing is, if you don’t have a means to capture the bad review or feedback before it got to the public, that’s your fault. In other words, you need to have a mechanism like yesterday, where I could actually express myself to somebody and get it corrected right there.

A lot of businesses don’t have that. They don’t follow up with the customer with an email, or a post card, or a phone call, or anything that says, “Hey, can you do me a favor and rate how we did treating you today?”

If you have that, and actually implemented it, a lot of the times they’ll express themselves to you and they won’t express themselves to all the people looking on Google or Facebook, or activities on the web to find out about you.

They’re going to express it to you. You can address their concern. You can solve their concern and everybody’s happier. If you don’t have that, they’re going to go and use the only mechanism available, which is a public review. That’s why it’s important you have that.

To review, whose fault is it when you get bad reviews? Generally, it’s your fault as a small business owner.

I know you don’t like to hear that. I don’t like to hear that about my own business, but that’s the reality of it. Insure that you’ve hired good staff. You have great product service, or quality control, and you have a means for people to express themselves inside the corporation you’re involved with as opposed to just saying outside. A bad review will foster a lot more bad reviews and certainly hurt your business.