Recently, I took on a small but, in my opinion, significant battle to bring attention to a situation. If you want to voice your opinion on something, you don’t need to go as big as I did. And… I could have gone a LOT bigger.

Something I learned working with horses is you go as big as you have to, but no more. You may just want to write a simple review of your experience and post it on an online review site like Google or Yelp. But there are so many online review sites.

For my recent purposes, I chose not to do a review, because I felt blog posts would serve my needs and tell my personal experience in a more intimate setting. 

If you are done with a company and never to return, you can go as scorched Earth as you like. But if you are trying to get a company to do the right thing and take care of you, as you feel they should have done in the beginning, you can start small. True leaders will step forward and do what they can to take care of a situation. Sometimes, all you need are a few carefully crafted letters explaining your perspective.

Sometimes, sharing that perspective with a regional, then national headquarters might do the trick. If the above fails, you can start with brushfires. Keep in mind that going nuclear leaves a company nowhere to move. If everything around them is on fire, they are no longer thinking about you. Give them every chance to see your side and do the right thing. But you also need to tell them what the right thing is. Be clear about what they need to do to appease you.

You might be reaching a person on a bad day and their initial reaction is to ignore you or brush you off, likely thinking that you’ll just go away. But catch them a little later and they might say, “Oh… I had no idea this was the issue. You are right. Let’s make this better.” And then they implement policies to keep it from happening again.

But you need to give them the opportunity to do the right thing, a couple times, before you set a fire. Fires can be as small or as big as you need them to be. We have a seemingly endless number of tools and fuels available to us now.

However, this is a brief list of things you can do to make your voice heard. Whether singing their praises or going nuclear, up to you.

Facebook– Most companies have a Facebook page. Reviews are super easy to leave and super hard to get rid of. Facebook pages come up on Google searches pretty high. And, that review is shown just under their name on the search return.

Google Reviews
Lots of businesses now have a Google+ Business page along with their website. Very easy to use. Just google the business, preferably with the location. If it has a Google+ Business page, it will come up to the right of the other search returns. Right underneath their name are a few buttons like “directions” or “save” and under that is their review area. You can read other reviews or leave one. Super easy and again, those reviews are seen by anybody looking for that business.

Google Maps– as you can imagine, when somebody is getting directions for a restaurant and they use Google maps, that 3 or 2 star review might edge them toward another spot.

Yelp– User Reviews and Recommendations of Best Restaurants, Shopping, Nightlife, Food, Entertainment, Things to Do, Services and More at Yelp.

Glassdoor– If you happened to have worked for a place that you want to leave a review for, check out Glassdoor. This is a place I look at often. I have checked reviews on companies before I applied for jobs and more recently before I took on clients, just to get a feel for their culture. It’s a good resource and easy to use.

Better Business Bureau– Businesses are rated on a letter scale, basically the grades you’d get on a high school test (A to F), and consider several factors, including number of reviews, type of reviews, whether reviews have been replied to or acknowledged, and type of business. I have used the BBB many times over the years. You can file a complaint with them, and they will ask you pointedly what you want to happen. Tell them. Do you want something fixed? Do you want a refund because you feel you bought something with certain expectations, promised you by the company, only to learn that it didn’t meet those expectations?… Not even close?…

Angie’s List
Provides consumers with honest, accurate information about local businesses. Users pay a membership fee to read and write reviews in the form of a letter grade.

Your State Attorney General
This is one of my favorites, especially for a larger company that is national. Also especially if they deal with licensure or accreditation. Most of my experience dealing with the my state’s attorney general has been personal letters to their office. Almost ever time I was working to get a credit reporting bureau to fix something. Credit reports are notoriously inaccurate. Most people think they have no recourse. You do. However, they tend to be so big and powerful, they kind of forget that knowledgeable people, who know the law, can be a thorn in their side. And that’s true for any large company. If the AG gets enough letters on the same thing, they might start an investigation. Revoke licenses. Fine businesses. Close businesses. To find yours, do a search for ‘State Attorney General ‘your state’ “… For South Dakota, https://atg.sd.gov/Contact.aspx

Foursquare
While Foursquare is best known for its check-in feature, local businesses that have claimed their listings also give customers the ability to leave ratings and tips (reviews) for other customers when they visit. I’ve never used them. But I have heard it is easy to use and lots of people, particularly on mobile devices, check reviews there.

SO many more. I have never had to use more than the above, but again, if you want to be hear by someone who is just turning a blind eye and you feel you are not going to be treated as you wish, you can just torch them and walk away.
Here are a few others (Still not an exhaustive list):
Manta
OpenTable
MerchantCircle
PlanetRate
VendOp
Judy’s Book
HomeAdviser
ExpresIt
ConsumerAffairs
Business.com