Thoughts on how to run a business. Part 4.


Dealing with bad reviews.

It is unfair, isn’t it ?  Mr Jo Public can go online and write a nasty review about you and your business and – usually – you cannot respond.  On the whole people just do not realize the damage they can do, especially to a small business.

Places like Trip Advisor, for example, give you a chance to reply. But for many of these reviews there is nothing you can do, no matter how unfair, untrue and unjust they are.  And even when you can reply, given that you are a professional person running an important business, you can rarely say what you feel.  The bad thing about Trip Advisor (and this applies to several similar) is that they give review-writers a kind of “badge” to encourage the reviews – utterly ridiculous, but most people fall for it.

To make matters worse, the public in general confuse reviews with God himself. They take it all so seriously.  It says “there was a fly in the soup … so I will never go there!”  Or “it says this book was boring, so I won’t buy it”.


For holiday house owners the situation became so bad that that a web site was set up so that the owners can warn each other about difficult clients, dirty people, and bad-review-writers.  To make matters worse there is also an entire compensation/refund horde out there, all clamouring to get some money back if they can.  It is with the greatest pleasure that I have, on two or three occasions, refused people because they appear on the web site.  I don’t want them here.

If you have had a bad review, and if it is any consolation:

– the writer of the review (this is shown by recent research) has some kind of personality problem. A healthy, hale and hearty person who enjoys life does not waste his/her time writing nasty reviews

– all your satisfied clients are satisfied – they simply do not write a review about it. It is only the ones fired-up with annoyance that put pen to paper, or fingers on key board, as the case may be.

– I know it is awkward, and it is something I rarely do, but try to ask your happy clients to post a good review.  Many will not have time for such silliness – for that is what it is, a load of silliness.  The younger generation, however, are quite good about going on to the internet.

I know a lady who owns a holiday complex in Cyprus.  She got one terrible review on Slow Travel (I don’t know if they still exist), much of it being utter fiction.  She tried to contact Slow Travel who were rude and unhelpful and were certainly not interested in whether or not the review was true.  The report was so bad that it was obviously going to affect business, especially as (this was in the early days of reviews on the internet) she had no good reports.  All she could do was change the name of her business. Imagine – being obliged to change the name of your business just because of some ghastly woman who didn’t have a nice holiday!   It really is unfair.

I know another person, also in Cyprus as it happens, who has a notice on the wall in reception: IF YOU WRITE A BAD REVIEW ABOUT MY HOTEL, I WILL NOT HESITATE TO WRITE A BAD REVIEW ABOUT YOU!  Not very professional, but I can see his point of view. After all, we all have access to the internet.

Chateau front

For myself, I have started to write good reviews about places I stay or eat, books I read etc.,when I can.  I’d love to be able to contact Trip Advisor and say “I don’t want your badge thanks!” but I can’t.  I write the good reviews because, as a novelist and as the owner of a holiday complex (France), I know how tough it can be and I get a double-whammy of reviews.  I travel massively.  If I didn’t like the hotel or restaurant or scuba-diving club or whatever, I simply say nothing. That’s what my old granny told me: if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. I wish more people would take note of that.

Click here for Part 3

Click here for Part 5


 Click here for Ten Keys To Success

Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  She is widely travelled and writes regularly for magazines and blog sites.  Her sketches are on her web site .  Her books are available from Amazon and on Kindle, or can be ordered from several leading book stores.

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Catherine Broughton is a novelist, a poet and an artist.  Her books are available as e-books on this site:-            “A Call from France”          “French Sand”         ”The Man with Green Fingers”        “Saying Nothing”

They are also available on Amazon & Kindle, or can be ordered as paperbacks from most leading book stores and libraries.

Posted on 18/01/2013 by Catherine
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