Negative reviews are a part of doing business in today’s world. While providing quality products and service is key to bringing in customers, not everyone will be satisfied. You can’t control what a person says about your business online, but you can control how you deal with the aftermath.

Review sites like Yelp can be a learning experience. When a customer gives a bad review or rating, it is an opportunity for a business to see what it can improve upon and ultimately create a better atmosphere.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently shared some tips for how to minimize the damage from a negative review.

  1. Respond – Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. In fact, a customer with a negative review will likely appreciate that you took the time to respond to their complaints. It’s an opportunity to show that you learn from your mistakes and it can ultimately create goodwill with the customer.
  2. Courtesy – It can be tempting to defend your business, especially when you disagree with a complaint. However, it is a good practice to be kind and avoid getting personal. Think before you reply. If you’re rude to a customer, it may deter other potential customers who read the reviews.
  3. Thank The Reviewer – Again, bad reviews or ratings are an opportunity to learn, so it’s best to be professional in your response and thank the reviewer for taking the time to highlight your business’ issues.
  4. Improve – Show that you take reviews seriously by proving that you’re working to resolve the issue.

Review websites have become a big part of how businesses of all kinds reach people. In today’s culture, consumers will look to what others have said about an establishment before giving it their business. That is no truer than when it comes to restaurants, bakeries, and other foodservice establishments.

Reviews can make or break a foodservice establishment, so even if you don’t satisfy each customer every time, you can show that you’re determined to earn their business.