I just got off the phone with a very shaken and upset business owner. He was given a terrible review on Yelp that has quickly started ranking on Google for many of his critical keyword phrases.

After the reading the review, I can see it was put together in the heat of the moment and much of the issue could have been resolved istock_000005946391medium-70fb5e386bea89941d1044fef662ec5c2aca1a70-s6-c30offline.

As consumers, review sites have given us a power we’ve never had before: the ability to publicly out a business that has conducted themselves in poor manner. But with power comes responsibility. We should be using these review sites as absolute last resorts if we are unable to work out the issue with the business. In this case, the business owner is going out of his way to make the situation right, even though much of the issue was caused by the icy weather we had here in Atlanta.

What can be learned from this situation?

As consumers, don’t be in such a rush to publicly shame a business. Think about the impact your review can have on the people behind the business. Instead, communicate with the business offline and only use these public forums as last resorts.

As businesses, we need to continue to be proactive in getting our champion customers to write positive reviews about us. Remember, people are far less motivated when they are happy than when they are upset. We need to encourage our happy customers to get out on these sites and share their experience.

I hope this situation gets resolved and the reviewer edits their review with how the business responded.

That’s the right thing to do.