By Jessica SpartGodaddy

How many times have you been stuck trying to decide between two products or services you know relatively little about? Sure, you need a landscaper, but who will pull your weeds and who will just take a weed whacker to them to let them grow back in a week? Now, imagine someone who has experienced the options is laying out the pros and cons for you. The decision suddenly feels a bit more manageable, doesn’t it?

Customer reviews, good or bad, can make or break a business – as can a lack of reviews. Consumers are indecisive by nature, so being listed on local review sites could be just the confidence boost your customers need to trust you.

But, I don’t want people to say bad things about me. Truth is, you can’t please everyone. It should be assumed that some people might not like you, your product or your services. Yet there is a greater chance that if you do your job right, they will. Haters are going to hate, so why deny your satisfied customers the opportunity to sing your praises?

There is a lot to be said for honest and unfiltered feedback—and your customers know this. If you’re worried about negative reviews, the best thing is to ask for feedback  from your all of your customers, especially the happy ones.

I am bad, and that’s good. As anyone who has ever used Amazon.com® knows, not all negative reviews are bad. While it is true that there are plenty of unhappy consumer responses out there, there are plenty more who had unrealistic expectations, misunderstood the star system, or were unhappy about something else entirely.

When your customers have the chance to review negative reviews along with positive ones, they understand what realistic expectations they should have. One person’s con is another person’s pro. Two stars because the gas-powered weed whacker left a stench in its wake? I give it five stars because that landscaper chose gas over electric. Negative review neutralized.

Make bad reviews work for you. Then again, some people have very legitimate complaints. If you sell a red shirt that instantly dyes everything in the washer pink, then maybe you need to consider not selling that shirt anymore. If a number of customers complain about you or your staff, you should examine which behaviors are causing a problem. Use the negative reviews as coaching opportunities. Ask yourself, “What can I do to rectify this?” It’s important to make sure you give your customers as many reasons as possible to like you and your products or services.

No one ever likes to hear that they’re doing something wrong, but sometimes a little honesty can go a long way in helping us achieve our goals. Negative reviews can help you re-evaluate potential problem areas, while positive reviews help customers relay what you’re doing well.

Hiding to avoid negative reviews at the expense of the positive ones is one of the fastest ways to cause customers to lose faith in you. Honesty is the best policy for a reason. Get connected to local business review sites, lay it all out on the table, and trust that your customers will make better decisions when they can make informed ones.

About the Author:

Jessica SpartJessica Spart is a small business consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance writer based in Arizona. She’s passionate about helping small businesses succeed. Jessica spends her free time reading, running and catching up on her favorite Korean and British TV shows. Connect with Jessica on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business.