“The customer is always right!” – Sure that sounds fantastic and most of the time it holds true, but what about that one jerk that simply can’t be pleased even if you offered to personally fly him to Jamaica just so he could relax and stop being a loudmouth for 2 minutes so you could have a normal human being level of conversation with him?! Unfortunately for your business, those people are usually the ones that are the loudest and most likely to share their opinion about your business. And since you can’t follow them around all day long explaining yourself, that begs the question, how do you handle the online reviews for your company?

Not every customer experience is going to be great and not all feedback will always be positive, but when your business relies on its reputation, a few bad apples really can spoil the bunch, so here are some tips for handling these negative online reviews.

1. Contact the website directly. – Websites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp aren’t stupid. They know that malicious competitors could be out there trying to ruin your name or that a rare occurrence happens and no matter what you do to correct the situation a customer isn’t satisfied. If you reach out to these sites directly, many times they will pull the oddball negative review.

2. Respond to the review. – Don’t start an online argument with that person or start berating them. Simply ask what you can do to correct any wrong they feel you’ve done. Sometimes just caring and fixing their issue can be enough to have them to remove their negative review.

3. Stay on top of your Social Media and customer outreach. – Keeping a good relationship with you regular customers is not only good for business, but it can be good to combat negative reviews. Loyal followers of your business will typically come to your aid when they feel someone is unjustly reviewing your business.

4. Nothing beats a bad review like a good review – Encourage customers to leave feedback. Positive feedback is fantastic but we all know that once a customer leaves your business they aren’t as likely to get on their computer and leave a good review as much as they would be if they were angry and wanted to leave a bad review. So, combat that with accessibility. Something as simple as keeping an Ipad up front at the register and asking them to leave some feedback before they leave your store can do wonders.

Of course, the point of online reviews isn’t just for other potential customers to find out what business to use. You as a business owner can learn a lot about what you are doing right and what you could be doing better from your customer feedback. Many times someone will say something positive to your face because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, when in reality they turn around and put their true feelings out online. Overall, online reviews tend to paint a good picture of a business, so if you’re finding that those damaging negative reviews are becoming more and more frequent you may want to look inward for the real solution.