“I hate Angie’s List!”

“I had a bunch of Yelp reviews but now they are gone.”

“Facebook is a waste of time, and so is Twitter.”

Depending on the group of business owners discussing social media, the complaints can go on and on. While some may feel that the pure social sites like Facebook are a waste of time, others strongly dislike the review sites, such as Angie’s List and Yelp.

Why? Because, once in a while, you get a negative review and it seems as if the world is coming to an end.

In this issue of Cleanfax, you will see a very informative article by Steve Marsh in his Single Truck Success column on the topic of tapping into the power of social review sites. That’s a proactive approach to getting good reviews and taking advantage of what your happy customers say about your company and the services you provide.

But are you “proactive” enough? Do you value reviews (aka testimonials) and work hard to get them? I’m not talking about just on your own website. It’s pretty easy to get someone to say something about your company and copy those comments to your website — and everyone should do that. It’s another thing to get them to go to Yelp and Angie’s List, as members, to give you a shining review.

Some wish to avoid Yelp and Angie’s List because of those occasional negative reviews. You get one, you want to delete it, but that’s not an option. The unhappy customer can remove a review, but I guarantee that won’t happen unless you fix the problem and make that customer happy once again.

This brings up a pretty important point. Are “bad” reviews really bad? Remember that consumers that look at reviews before making a purchase are actually pretty savvy. They know how the system works. They know that a company that has only stellar reviews pasted all over the Internet might not have received those reviews honestly.

But a company that has a “four out of five” rating, or maybe a minor complaint one out of 10 times, is most likely one that is a good choice to use. Consumers know that you can’t please 100 percent of customers 100 percent of the time.

When you get that occasional “bad” review, maybe one that says something about how you could have done a better job or have arrived on time, don’t take it personally. Take it as a challenge. Respond to that review, privately and/or publicly — always choosing your words carefully — and demonstrate how you value your customers and will fix any problem or issue that comes up, no matter who is at fault.

While people like good, quality service, they also like a company that is a problem solver. If you solve problems and fix issues, no matter what they are, the value of any review system you use will help you build your business.

So don’t despair about social media review sites and how they can occasionally give you heart palpitations or give you the urge to throw your computer into the toilet.

Become a member of those social review sites yourself, become a consumer, leave reviews for other companies you do business with and see how the system works.