That bad review has been on your mind, hasn’t it?

It’s not really a big deal, but it bugs you every now and again, right? Like a mustard stain on a white shirt collar, that two-star review is a grim reminder that your business has been publicly tainted. And the whole world can see that ugly yellow stain on that otherwise pristine white shirt.

HEY! Snap out of it! You’ve got it all wrong...

According to Reevoo, a leading ratings and reviews service, “Bad reviews can improve conversions by 67%.”

That’s because every less-than-stellar review is really just masquerading as an opportunity to demonstrate the integrity, adaptability and authenticity of your business.

But that doesn’t take the sting away – it still sucks to be put down. Just remember: it happens to most everyone.

It really doesn’t matter how wonderful your product or service might be. Someone, somewhere, will find something negative to say about it. And if you they post it on Yelp or Google+ or Angie’s List, you won’t be able to delete it... but you probably already knew that.

It’s unfair and utterly frustrating, yes, but those are the breaks. That’s just the game. First you have to get the reviews, and then you have to make sure the bad ones are still helping your business.

Here's how to do both:

How to Get Reviews.

Be Visible.

The Opinion Research Corporation released a survey which states, “84% of Americans say consumer reviews influence their buying decisions.”

This illuminating statistic is testament to not only the incredible popularity of online reviews, but the immense influence they carry, as well.

People simply want to know what other people think. So avoiding negative reviews by not registering your business with Google+, Angie’s List and Yelp just isn't an option.

Not signing up with major review sites and directories will 1) hurt your search engine rankings and 2) kill your credibility with consumers who are researching your business online (i.e., reading reviews).

If you’re not already signed up with the aforementioned sites, that’s step one to actually getting the reviews.

Be Proactive.

People usually don’t take it upon themselves to post a review unless they’re disappointed and want to vent. Rarely will someone go out of their way to write a “good” or “satisfactory” review. That’s why it never hurts to ask. If you know you kicked ass, why not?

If you're in the service industry, for instance, directing your customers to leave a review on Yelp, Google+ and Angie's List via automated "thank you" emails will increase traffic to those properties.

If you want someone to do something for you, you have to make it a very simple process.

Be Loud.

Put your reviews on blast.

Syndicate your good feedback to your social properties – ensuring that your fans and visitors have a chance to see the great work you’ve accomplished. There should also be a testimonial section on your website for prospects to reference.

As the title of this post suggests, negative reviews are also an opportunity. They’re an opportunity to make things right and, in the process, illustrate your company’s ability to roll with the punches.

Agility is vital to customer satisfaction.

How to Make Bad Reviews Work for You.

A “bad” review isn’t the end of the world -- it’s actually a necessary evil. According to Reevoo, “68% of consumers trust a company's reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.”

Unfortunately, a baaaad review is inevitable and, worse yet, it’s not going anywhere. There’s just no winning on that front.

So if you can't beat them, join the conversation. In other words: diligently respond to all of your reviews – the good ones, the bad and the ugly ones. Doing so will paint an authentic picture for readers. It will earn their trust, which is essential to successful online lead generation.

Answer a positive review any way you like, as long as it’s pleasant and sincere. A bad review, however, needs to be approached logically; responded to in this order:

1. Acknowledge the problem.

2. Identify the reason for it.

3. Offer a tangible solution (e.g. money-back offer, future discount, free servicing).

Read more about how to effectively handle a negative review here.

At the end of the day...

Once an online review is published, it's out there. Anyone can find it and please believe, they will judge your business by it. So your best bet is to get in front of it. Cut it off and make it right before people have a chance to get the wrong idea about you.

People know that no product or service is ever perfect. And if you demonstrate that you can handle your mistakes fairly and appropriately, people will typically give you the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, it’s always better to have more “good” reviews than “bad” ones. The Spectrum Reviews Application helps small and medium businesses maximize the number of quality reviews they receive each month – making the process streamlined and organized.

Need some help with your company’s reputation management? Ask Spectrum! We’re always happy to help!