Are you a good reviewer? Whether you are a business manager looking to solve problems using outside help, or a traveler looking for a good place to eat in a new city, it’s becoming more likely all of the time that you count on reviews to find what you need. The question though is “do you give as good as you get?” Though many of us do leave reviews from time to time, especially when things don’t go well, the sad reality is that most of us just don’t review a business or service often enough. Businesses count on these reviews on a regular basis to not only gauge customer satisfaction with what they do but also to spread the word about what they offer. This is the “dark side” of reputation management and sometimes we need a reminder [with a touch of guilt] to do what we know we should.

Rest assured that I am not throwing stones from my glass house here. On a recent family trip to South Carolina I utilized recommendations quite often. We were familiar with the general area, but we wanted to find local places to eat which weren’t chain restaurants and some attractions. We tried to talk to the staff or business owners who wanted to know about our experience with them as they counted on recent reviews to let others know they were even open and that they were trying to make it.

So with my freshly convicted conscience in-hand I set out to review the “local” places we encountered on our trip. Many of these businesses asked for reviews hoping for the positive ones of course. They seemed to be genuinely concerned though about the feedback either way so I took it upon myself to review them. Though my experiences were good by and large, I did try to leave constructive feedback where possible. For example, I not only said I liked the place but what food we had and what was the favorite. These were the types of reviews I respond to when searching so I hoped my efforts to pay it forward would help others. Sometimes businesses responded but many did not. More than a New Year’s resolution I’m going to try and do a better job of this not only on vacation but also at home.

So I want to take a moment to challenge you to become a better reviewer. Don’t’ just reserve your robust reviews for negative situations either. If they did something right be sure to note some more detail than just a star rating as to what it was or give someone credit (first name at most) for a job well done and why. Try and carve a little extra time and make this a habit where you live…from the places you eat to the doctors you visit. There will come a time when you will want this in return. In addition, if someone leaves you a robust review (good or bad) take the time to respond to them. People don’t expect this unless it’s a bad review generally. You then have the chance to turn that review around by addressing their issues when things go wrong. You can also make a huge impact for things done right by responding with thanks and humility. Give this until the end of the year and watch what happens.

Reputation Management – 3d render concept with blue and white arrows flying over a white background.