As attorneys with a law firm which has a significant online presence, and as lawyers who represent small and medium businesses, we are very much aware of the power of the online review and/or rating given by consumers. In fact, in this day and age, the positive or negative nature of a company’s reputation as declared by the internet can make or break your business.

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For many businesses, it is almost impossible to avoid at least the occasional negative comment or even merely a lukewarm review. Many times, the information posted online is not accurate, or at least is presented out of context and/or incomplete. All businesses which encounter this face the same question: what can we do about this negative online review?   Hopefully, after you have had a bit of time to think about it, one of your next questions is: what should we do about this negative online review? We have developed a list of 5 key considerations and here is the fifth.

(5) Turn a negative into a positive, or at least into an opportunity. This can’t work in all industries or all situations, of course, but what about turning the criticism into a promotional effort? For example, let’s consider the complaint of “I had to wait more than 30 minutes for my car to be cleaned at Acme Car Wash.” Perhaps the response from Acme is similar to this: “We regret you had to wait so long, but we were simply very busy that day with so many customers who know what a good job we do. Everyone should know that this month we have a 25% discount for our Premium Customer Club memberships, which allow you to make an appointment, among other benefits!”

This creative approach focuses on the positive, while still “apologizing” to the unhappy customer. It might even increase business. Find the silver lining.