Why Online Reputation Matters to all Businesses

Don’t think online reviews matter to your business? Think again.

This conversation is happening whether you like it or not and the “it is what it is” mentality just won’t cut it anymore.

As an example, put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer who wants to find out your menu, service offerings or location. They type your name into Google and up pops your information...with only 2 stars. Suddenly, that customer might not be as inclined to bring you business. Even if the information in the reviews is inaccurate or outdated, if your company is absent from the conversation, it might as well have just happened five minutes ago.

According to a recent IBM study, 42 percent of customers had a conflict with a company in the past year.  Among the people who thought the brand dealt with the conflict ineffectively, only 13 percent shop at the same levels they used to.  

Word of mouth is as influential as it is contagious, and in the online world it can often seem like an attack on all fronts. If not handled appropriately- or at all- things can spiral out of control quickly, as we can never forget this epic fail.

Both service-based and brick and mortar organizations face unique challenges when it comes to managing an online reputation. Here are some important things to pay attention to for each:


These industries can include home improvement, contracting, food service, travel/ hospitality, home-care and other professional services.

While these service-based organizations may bear the brunt of the online brutality, there is often a higher volume of reviews- meaning more chances for recovery! Typically, these are best resolved on a local level with the general manager for the best chance of truly making an impact, however the parent organization (if a franchise) should be in the loop with all complaints to keep tabs on organizational or management trends.

Sites to pay attention to:

  • Google

  • Yelp

  • Angie’s List

brick & mortar / physical products

This can include retail locations, consumer products, packaged food, shopping centers.

You may find that social media has become your biggest pain point, as this is where people go to quickly voice their frustrations about interactions with the brand. Oftentimes these are handled on a corporate level with a central channel to funnel complaints.

Sites to pay attention to:

  • Social Media

  • Google

The best way to tackle problems before they escalate and appropriately handling chance encounters with trolls is to have a strategy in place that will indicate who responds, how quickly they respond and defining the chain of command for addressing said problems.

Remember: demonstrating that you understand a customer’s frustrations and would like to resolve accordingly will go a lot farther than matching their angry comments with more aggression!

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done, and of course proper customer service training goes a long way in the recovery process...but that’s an article for another day!