Have you ever left a restaurant with soup spilled down your blouse from the waiter? Or tried to visit a car dealer and had a salesman pressure you into purchasing a car? It’s safe to say, everyone has had a negative experience with a local business at some point. We leave the experience offended and—at times—making a blood oath to bring revenge upon their establishment. Whether you want revenge or simply your money back, I assure you the owner of the business wants to hear your complaint so he or she can earn back your business. If the business owner couldn’t care less what you think then I refer you back to your blood oath for revenge.

Make Direct Contact First

Before you start making a voodoo doll shaped like the business owner, first see if he or she cares you are upset—contact them directly. There are a variety of ways to do this.

  1. Check website for contact information – Most companies have a website, and if they do they have a contact page. (if they don’t have a website…have them call me) Once you find the contact page send them an email describing your experience. Keep in mind that even if they have a contact page, all information sent to that email address might be sent to Neverland, and you may not hear back.
  2. Check the Whois database – Type in their website and you might be amazed what you find. Many business owners don’t realize when buying a domain name they need to privatize his or her information (if you are a business owner and need to do this…call me). It’s very likely you end up with their cell phone number or even their home address (resist the temptation to toilet paper their home…it isn’t worth it).

Google+ Local Page

After you wait a few days for a response it’s time to take hit them where it hurts. Go public with your bad experience, but do so on the right platforms. Google+ Local is part of Google+ and integrated into other Google products like Maps and Local Search (if you aren’t on Google+ you probably still use a rotary phone as well). Google lists every local business and creates a profile for them whether the business requested it or not. These are generally the profiles you see when searching a business on Google Maps. On these business profiles there is a place to submit a review. As you submit your review be detailed and include information that other potential customers can understand. This can hit them where it hurts because Google puts a lot of weight on these business profiles. If Google sees negative reviews they are less likely to rank them in search results. If potential customers see negative reviews, they are less likely to buy from them.

Social Media

Once you have tried to contact the business owner directly and have submitted a review on Google+ Local, it is time to tell your friends. As you illustrate with words your negative experience make sure to reference the business’ social media accounts (if they have one) so they are made aware you are telling your friends. This may send them into a frenzy to make the situation right. Either way, ask your friends to share the information or to share similar experiences.

Kurt

Kurt Francom is a former partner at WordXpress. He currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has two kids and a massage therapist wife Alanna (a mechanic never has time to work on his own family cars). Kurt enjoys reading, writing, time-travel movies, attending college football games in the fall, and drawing caricatures.