The vast majority of unflattering reviews online focus on failures to deliver what was promised – whether that be for a product or a service. The substantial factor in all of this is that the uncomplimentary review is very often the last step a consumer takes when all efforts to remedy the situation have failed.

So what does that signify for a business owner? A lot and the failure to sort out a situation that is so easily and readily solved not only results in unflattering and potentially damaging feedback – it also indicates a lack of a cohesive, transparent and honest business philosophy.

In life we all make mistakes and we make them regularly – it is nothing more than the basis of existence and it cannot be avoided, despite our best intentions. It is exactly the same in business. But when mistakes are made, the best solution is always to initially own up to the mistake and then initiate the steps to remedy it.

Unfortunately, some business owners, or people in positions of power in the business, do not do this. They do not own up to the error or errors. Their position becomes entrenched that then escalates into unnecessary conflict with an already unhappy and dissatisfied customer. Some people find it exceedingly difficult to take responsibility and in business this is harmful.

It’s also important to remember that not only is every customer a valuable asset, when they are treated badly they turn to another business to solve their issue and in turn become an opposite advocate – warning other potential customers through their experiences. All of this can be avoided by honesty and self-responsibility

There are many advantages to this sort of honesty. It cannot be overstated just how much a satisfied customer can grow a business and attract new consumers – even if their initial experience was unsavoury. We see this all the time though online feedback. Consumers who write the most glowing reviews are sometimes those whose first experience was bad. The product failed, the service did not satisfy but the business owner accepted the mistakes and bent over backwards to deliver and to fix the problem.

Consumers are occasionally afraid to complain, if only to avoid conflict, so if they do, their expectations can so easily be met if they are agreed with, and consulted about the very best ways to establish their satisfaction. Their relief has then confirmed them as a returning customer and a happy advocate through the positive and glowing feedback they will leave online.

So why lose a customer and damage a reputation, only because it is so seemingly so difficult to admit to a mistake? It really is a no brainer.