While most small business owners spend their energy trying to catapult their website to the top of a Google search page, others are waging a battle against negative online reviews that are reaching the top of Google searches. Poor ratings and reviews on sites like YELP, Yahoo, Google, Foursquare, Citysearch, or Zagat can wreak havoc on the reputation of a small business. Whether it is a disgruntled former employee who is seeking revenge or an unhappy customer, there are ways to combat the problem. Naturally, the best way to combat this situation is to take a proactive approach from the start by encouraging customers to write positive reviews online. The theory is elementary – if the positives outweigh the negatives you will look better on paper. It is worth your while to give your clients a little incentive for doing to the good deed – perhaps offer a coupon for a discount at their next visit. If the negative reviews have already done damage to your reputation than you have your work cut out for you but not all is lost. If it is an unhappy customer creating the stir – do what you can to appease them. Apologize and offer an opportunity to make things right. Beyond that, stay clear of excuses or negative remarks. Your best bet is to encourage more customers to post positive reviews in order to drown out the negative noise.
Other places that businesses can manage their online reputation include: