As the owner of a pet sitting and dog walking business its inevitable that at one time or another, we’ll have a client who is unhappy or dissatisfied. Luckily, these pet parents are few and far between.

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Anyone who owns a small business can attest to how hurtful and potentially damaging these poor reviews can be. Honestly, before Google and Yelp and Angie’s List, people used to call an owner and complain, and the owner had an opportunity to discuss the challenge and rectify it for the owner. Sadly, interpersonal skills seem to going by the wayside and people are slap happy to leave poor reviews for businesses. My feeling about this is simple. Its just a shame.

Its a shame for business owners because people are less confrontational on the phone. By hearing the kindness and concern in a business owners voice, most times, the issue can be rectified. I take things very personally and want to make things right whenever I can. If someone is unhappy with our services, I will do everything in my power to make things right-refund their money, credit their account and even change sitters, if necessary. I don’t want our sterling reputation ruined by a few choice sentences.

It also hurts me deeply when someone doesn’t try to contact me, but goes directly to these websites and posts negative comments. I can’t fix what I don’t know, so I always tell new clients to contact me for anything that they wish.

Last year, I had a more challenging situation. I had an employee who we needed to terminate, which is just as hard from the company perspective as it is for the employee. After the termination, her daughter wanted revenge because of her mothers situation, and posted horrific reviews on every review website and made up stories about us. Because she never used our services, I was able to take them off, but also had to get an attorney involved. This clearly was a case where Google, Yelp and Angie’s List did the right thing, but what about those clients who just want to slam you for the sake of slamming?

How do you deal with services you are unhappy with? Do you contact the owner and try to resolve or do  you go directly to one of the review websites? What are the benefits of both?