We spend a lot of time talking about how bad reviews don’t necessarily spell the end of your business. The problem with accepting bad reviews to the point of ignoring their message is that you could end up with a bad reputation. A bad reputation is much harder to overcome than a handful of bad reviews. How can you balance acceptance with action? Let’s take a look.

Acknowledging Bad Reviews

The first step toward achieving a bad reputation is often a bad review. Whether that review is warranted or an obvious smear job, you have to acknowledge that it exists. No sticking your head in the sand and hoping it all just goes away, right?

Deconstruct Bad Press

After you accept that someone shared bad news about your company, you must deconstruct that review for anything helpful. If the review brings to light poor actions or a lack of quality, then you must learn from your mistakes. What can you change that will help you avoid bad reviews in the future.

When to Walk Away

Sometimes you’ll see reviews that have nothing to do with how you conduct your business. These attacks are best left untouched, because most savvy consumers recognize a smear campaign when they see one. If you rise to the bait and start a fight, you’ll do more damage than good.

Reassure Your Customers

Those who do have relevant concerns should hear from you how you plan to change. This means really examining your business and accepting the shortcomings. Once you’re prepared to admit you’re wrong, reach out to the customers who left bad reviews and thank them for their feedback. Then explain how you plan to change in the future. Finally, invite them to try your services or products again soon so they can see how committed you are to solving their pain.

When It’s Out of Hand

If you’ve let problems amass until you’re wading through a river of them, recovery is much harder. You may be dealing with much more than one or two bad reviews at this point. In fact, your reputation among industry peers could be stifling your ability to hire quality employees or overcome negative press. What can you do in this situation?

Digging yourself out of this hole is difficult but not impossible. First, if you haven’t taken a critical look at your company and business practices, it’s time to do so. Don’t trust only your eyes, though. You need a healthy mix of people you trust, and even those you don’t. In fact, getting some feedback from your biggest detractors will really help you see clearly.

Once you see the glaring errors, set out to tackle them one by one. If your management style is in question, bring in new management. If your product quality has been skewered, then it’s time to seek out better suppliers. Whatever the problem may be, you can’t keep ignoring it…unless, of course, you’re ready to throw in the towel.

You may discover that it’s time to rebrand your business and start fresh. This will give you a chance to shed your bad reputation and take on a new identity. Keep in mind that rebranding isn’t about turning your back on your old brand. Rather, you want to maintain those aspects of your brand that still work while introducing a new vision and mission.

After identifying the issues and fixing them, make sure the world knows you’ve made these changes. You’ll need piles of publicity, and giving away free samples or big discounts isn’t a bad idea. If you’re lucky, you’ll turn that bad rap around. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a lot of time and money. The investment will pay off.

If you’re struggling to overcome a bad business reputation, come see us. We’re excellent problem solvers who love to change public perception through branding, marketing, and publicity. Our deep love for Plan B, that solution that’s just left of the target you aimed for, that’s what makes us so good at what we do. It’s where we live.

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