Today I read a post by Matt McGee – 5 Ways Negative Reviews Are Good For Business – I just want to expand on one of them here, but hat tip to Matt for posting this. It really is worth a read! The point I want to take a closer look at here is: They help you make better business decisions. You don’t set up a business hoping it receives tons of negative reviews. My guess is most (legitimate) business owners that have a ton of negative reviews are truly sad about them, and didn’t set up their business planning on getting them. Where I think businesses do fail: Lets say you’re checking out your online listings and are “Googling” yourself and you see a ton of negative reviews. Most business owners first thoughts are: “How do I get rid of theses negative results” or the might not even know where to begin to even think that. Here is what they need to be doing – Take the time and read the reviews, ALL of them and make a plan of action to do better as a business owner. This is the most important step – listening to your customers and accepting the feedback. My biggest piece of advice? Start monitoring your reputation better. If you are low budget, the very first thing you need to be setting up is Google Alerts for everything related to your business and name. It is really simple to do. Let me show you: Just go to the Google Alerts page and you will see this: You will have several options to fill out. Most important is the Search Terms, and I would suggest setting up a couple of alerts for your business name and URL (anyway anyone could type it) Dream Systems Media, dreamsystemsmedia, DreamSystemsMedia.com, http://www.dreamsystemsmedia.com etc (any and all variations possible). You just include those terms for each alert you set up. Then you are asked other questions like the Type of Alert you want, and How Often. You will then start getting the Alerts sent right to your email. It really is that easy. Once businesses do a better job of monitoring their reputation and listening to what the customers are saying, eventually the positive results (reviews) will start coming in and help push the negative reviews down and away. Just remember to listen and fix the problem – rather then do nothing at all. Thanks again Matt for making me (think about and) want to share this reputation management tip! This is a simple step (I know), but as I know Andy Beal would agree – people are not doing a good job monitoring their reputation. If you work hard enough at taking the “cus” out of customer service your business reviews will be thanking you!