Disgruntled customers can ruin your business.

They tend to tell everyone why they’re unhappy, and the Internet makes it easy for them to post a bad review that can draw a lot of negative attention.

Those who give you a bad review don’t have to be right, and they don’t have to be honest. All they have to do is to get online and vent their anger on one of the popular review sites. And you may not even know about it.

It really doesn’t take many bad reviews to cost you a lot of money in lost sales. Look at these numbers.

  • 90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. (MarketingLand.com)
  • 92% of consumers read online reviews before selecting a business. (eTailing Group)
  • 86% of online users will be searching for a local business at some point in time. (Kelsey Group)
  • 61% of local searches result in purchases. (TMP/comScore)
  • A one “star” overall difference in reviews results in a 5% – 9% change in revenue. (Harvard Business Review)

Your good reputation that took you years to build can be severely damaged in no time at all by a few unhappy customers.

So how do you protect the good name of your business online? Start by doing two things.

First, don’t let a bad review go unchallenged.

Let’s say you get a bad review on Yelp. Here’s a three-step process to follow.

  1. Respond quickly in a genuine, professional manner.
  2. Address the complaint head on.
  3. Take the conversation private. Don’t participate in a negative back and forth in public. That’s a losing battle you don’t want to fight.

Here’s an example.

“I’m sorry to learn that we didn’t meet your expectations. Our customers are normally very happy with our deep tissue massage services, and I would like to make it right with you as well. Please call me at (555) 555-1234 to see what we can do to make it up to you. My name is George, and I’m the owner. I want you to be happy so that you come back to see us for many years to come.”

Second, drown out the bad review with a flood of good ones.

Depending on who you listen to it takes 15-20 positive reviews to overcome one bad review.

And when you start generating a lot of good reviews they tend to be placed at the top of the list, which will push a bad review towards the bottom and out of view.

Generally speaking, if you have a good amount of reviews, people won’t go much past the first three months. They want to read the most recent reviews.

Don’t know how to get a lot of great reviews? Don’t worry. Click here for a simple two-step process.