More than ever, sites are popping up that let customers review everything from restaurants to daycares.  And while many small businesses cringe at the thought of receiving a bad review, here's a few reasons why even a negative opinion from a customer can be a good thing!

First and foremost, customer reviews, especially on a third-party site, are wonderful ways to collect feedback from customers.  It's a great way to not only see where your problem spots are, but to also see what you're doing that's really resonating with customers.  It could be that you're offering customers a service that you didn't realize how much your customers appreciate!

Secondly, negative reviews actually help validate the positive ones!  I am constantly reading product reviews at Amazon.  If I see that 10 people have reviewed a product and they all give it 5 stars, I might wonder how accurate the reviews really are.  But if 8 people gave the product 5 stars, and two gave it 2 stars, then suddenly the rating seems more accurate to me.  I am more likely to think that maybe the 2 people that only gave the product 2 stars, didn't understand how to use it properly.  Maybe it wasn't the product's fault?

Finally, a negative review from a customer is a wonderful opportunity to convert that customer into a fan, if you can reach out to them.  Often, a negative review is prompted, at least in part, because the customer had a problem that they didn't feel the business helped them resolve.  If you can work with this customer to help them after the fact, you greatly increase your chances of converting that person into an evangelist! 

So don't feel a need to 'fear' online sites such as Yelp (restaurants) that rate local businesses.   In fact if you have a blog or are active on social media sites, why not point to these review sites?  This is also an excellent way to establish trust with your customers, as they see that you are encouraging them to leave feedback and to see what others have had to say about you!

June 11, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post,, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


I use the review sites for travel sites and when I check up on my favourite places and find the odd bad review, it does bring out the evangelist in me and I either find myself writing a review or retort.

Not so sure about the Amazon ratings because I am a little cynical of the authors family, friends and colleagues pitching in with short reviews "Great book. I loved it. You must buy it Five stars at least" and then I see longer, more considered reviews slamming the book.

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Search Engine Guide > Mack Collier > Is Your Business Under (Online) Review?