Online reviews—when they are good, that’s great! But when a review of your product or service is bad, it doesn’t have to be terrible.  As a business owner, negative reviews can be an opportunity to engage with your customers and demonstrate your responsiveness and trustworthiness to potential customers. More and more, your potential customers are turning to online reviews to find out about your business and decide if they trust you—nearly 9 in 10 consumers—and these potential customers trust the reviews they find online as much as personal recommendations. Actively managing your online reputation is more important than ever, especially in the event that an online reviewer posts a negative review. And when everyone’s a critic, it is inevitable that your business will encounter a dissatisfied customer. And when that happens, what is the first thing you should you do?

The answer to that question is…nothing. Until you have a plan in place, do nothing. Nothing, that is, except create a voodoo doll in your mind of the reviewer and stick imaginary pins in it. Then go talk to your mom, your spouse, your best friend, or your therapist. Or the bartender over a stiff drink. These are all acceptable responses.

What is not an acceptable response? Not acceptable means any response that hurts your business or your reputation even more. Not acceptable means responding defensively or in anger to the review. If you are concerned that you might be tempted to do this, now might be a good idea to sign up for that meditation class, just in case. (Breeeeathe.)

That, friends, is Tip #1 from BizIdentity for responding to negative reviews: DO NOTHING. Do absolutely nothing until you have a plan, which, by the way, is tomorrow’s tip: having a plan.  Stay tuned…