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How to Manage Your Reputation When Your Business Screws Up



Nobody likes complaints, but every business will get them from time to time. The real question is not whether you will get a complaint, but when, and how, when it happens, you will handle it. Will you be able to fix the customer review issue? How do you bounce back? How can you manage your reputation when your business screws up?

Review What Went Wrong

The first step to fixing a problem is to know what it is, and CMG Local Solutions points out that this involves reviewing what happened with both the customer and the team member, if any, who was involved. You need to know if it is a team error, a software error, or just a mistake. You can’t prevent what might happen in the future, or fix the problem at hand, until you know exactly what’s going on. You might believe your team member, but still need to fix the problem. Make sure to explain this, so your team feels supported.

Respond to Customer Complaints

Then, it’s time to respond to the customer. Your goal is amelioration, or improving the situation, not proving whether you made a mistake or not. It’s cheaper in the long run to not deal with angry reviews or complaints by “right fighting” that the customer is really the one in error, even when they are. With few exceptions, finding a way to make the customer happy and have them remove a negative review is paramount. ROI Solutions says a method that can help is to develop guidelines for responding to complaints before they happen.

Don’t Be Afraid of Negative Reviews

You’re often told that negative reviews are anathema to small business, and to a certain extent this is true. They can cause lower SEO and can put off customers, if all the reviews you have are only negative, especially! But, according to Inc., negative reviews can also give good information to customers and show you aren’t trying to hide bad press. A negative review or two can show potential customers a “worst case scenario.” Oh, the device sent to them didn’t work, so you provided a replacement? You’re back on track.


Your reputation as a business relies upon good word of mouth, and that does include reviews. While you can’t control all reviews, you can help influence them positively. Do what you can, ameliorate customer problems, and carry on!


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