Recently I’ve learned of 4 great local owned businesses that were given horrible reviews. Two people never contacted the owners and tore them to shreds on social media. It caused their ratings to decrease. One person also stated lies about contacting the owners and when this owner tried to contact the person thru all methods available they ignored him. Whether its Google, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook or even their own website these reviews can really harm a business. Imagine my shock when I see a marketing person vilifying a local business to shred on social media. When the business tried to respond, the response was angrier and argumentative. There seemed to be a miscommunication and definitely different facts, but the business was trying to fix it. We all are human. We all make mistakes. It’s not the mistake that defines us, it is how and if we try to repair the mistake. It appears many have a tendency when hidden behind a computer to make really horrible comments, and often unfounded. In at least one case, it appears to be a competitor trying to hurt the competition. I recently recommended a business to someone asking for a referral and a person attacked the business. Another time, someone else referred someone and others put comments like Yuck and Ew. These comments came from other business owners! Can you imagine how they would feel if this was done to their business? Finally, a person asked for a referral for a local service and instead of putting a place the person liked they put, “Don’t go to _.” I’ve been to this place and it was wonderful! I can understand constructive criticism or not giving a 5***** review, but if an experience is not acceptable it needs to be addressed in person with the manager or owner and if not possible in person, over the phone. Not in a one sided post for the world to see without all the facts. They say for every negative word, you need 8 positive to make the difference. When is the last time you told a business they were doing great? When is the last time you complimented a staff of a business? I spoke to an owner of a great new franchised business and talked to him about my experience and complimented him on the exemplary service and product. He said that meant a lot and I could tell even though he is successful with multi locations, he doesn’t hear it enough. This week when you have a positive experience share that wide and far on social media. Next time you have a not so great experience, talk first to the manager or owner to resolve it. If they don’t, make your review about the situation, not personal. Reviews are relevant. They used to say sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That is no longer true. Bad reviews can kill a business, especially when they aren’t true. We always say think before you speak, please think before you write. Thanks to all those businesses who help so much in their communities and never get thanked enough!