Business owners know that no matter how large or small their business is, integrating Internet technologies is important for its success. It’s an easy way to advertise and offer the services and products of a company and to provide information to possible consumers. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t drawbacks. The Internet makes it easier for customers to leave reviews of the company. While this can really boost the popularity of one’s company, just one or two negative reviews can damage its reputation. Potential customers who spot just one negative review are often turned off. This is unfortunate, as a negative review is not always indicative of a company’s service.

Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are often unavoidable, especially if the company has grown and has a large customer base. Unfortunately, a customer who is not satisfied is much more likely to leave a review than a customer that is satisfied. This is because dissatisfied customers feel wronged and want to vent about the situation as well as make sure that they are heard. Sometimes, it’s not even the fault of the business in question, and the bad experience could have resulted from a miscommunication. If a company has a large number of negative reviews, especially, compared to its positive reviews, then the negatives probably paint an accurate portrait of that company. However, even if the company has hundreds of positive reviews, just one or two negative reviews will often stand out. Just a single negative review can put a lingering doubt in the potential customer’s head. This was the case with Home Direct. One poor review led to their reputation being stained as being a “rip off” company, even with the many positive reviews backing their business.

Combating Negative Reviews

The best way to combat those rare negative views and to avoid a Home Direct rip off situation is to have a company representative communicate directly with customers via Twitter and Facebook. This allows customers to better judge how the company interacts with its customers, as well as get a better feel of their customer service. Not only can the customer interact directly with the company, he or she can view the interaction between other customers and the company and form a more well-rounded opinion of them based on that interaction.

A negative review doesn’t tell the entire story, but sometimes, it is the only story that is told. A company needs to manage their online reputation by creating a conversation, and thus, creating many stories. Reading and responding to reviews, maintaining an active and participatory social media presence, and listening to customers is the best way to keep unruly review gossip from turning into a company’s identity.

Joan Price works in brand and reputation management. Follow her @JoanniePrice.

The Importance Of Online Reputation Management For A Successful Business