There’s a good chance that you’ve used Yelp at some point. The website, which helps people find and review local companies, saw an average of approximately 71 million monthly unique visitors in the first quarter of the year.

Yelp can generate awareness about and sales for companies, but to some businesses, it represents a threat as well. When a company provides thousands of customer experiences, it is bound to have a misstep somewhere, and when it does, the whole online world can learn about it in a Yelp review and judge the company by that mistake.

Businesses should be concerned with online reviews. According to Cohn Communications, four-out-of-five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase based solely on negative information they found online.

While focusing on bad reviews is important, Firm Media believes that they represent opportunity, not disaster. With the right approach, you can use them to gain insight into your products and services, win over an unhappy reviewer, and develop a following among other potential customers.

One of the services that Firm Media provides to clients is online reputation management. We monitor social media, comment boards, business review websites, and other venues in which a company is being discussed. We collect customer feedback—both good and bad—and work with clients to develop a strategy for addressing these comments.

Consider a recent example from Yelp. A Firm Media client—we’ll call it “Bob’s Chicken”—received an overall positive review of a dining experience with one exception: the customer thought that the coleslaw was pretty flavorless.

Bad coleslaw is a problem. A bad review is worse. Even more damaging, though, is a negative review with no response from the company. Using our practiced approach, Firm Media helped the client craft a public message to the reviewer that:

  1. Thanked him for his patronage and ensured him that the company took his review to heart.
  2. Demonstrated its commitment to quality food by announcing that it was reengineering its recipe.
  3. Invited the reviewer to visit for a complimentary order of coleslaw.

The business manager even made a request to speak personally with the reviewer in order to apologize for his experience and to get further feedback. As a result, the reviewer knew he was being heard and that the company would do what it took to improve. Plus, anyone who read the negative review would also see how the company responded.

That’s taking advantage of an opportunity.

Interested in online reputation management? We invite you to get in touch with Firm Media.