Sometimes it only takes 140 characters. Other times the reviews read more like hate-filled Facebook manifestos. And then there are the websites that specialize in star ratings.

All provide platforms for customer reviews that can do significant damage.

And that’s why you need to get in front of them, intercept them, encourage your company’s most ardent supporters to write customer reviews and do everything you can to make them go away.

Here’s why and how:

The Numbers Don’t Lie | Online Reviews Matter

According to information published by Vendasta, 92 percent of all consumers read online reviews, 40 percent form an opinion about a company or organization based on fewer than four reviews, and “star ratings” are the top way that consumers judge a business.

These statistics alone should be enough to make you take online reviews seriously and work to intercept negative customer reviews.

But if you need more proof, keep reading.

Complainers can Seriously Hurt a Company

A recent survey conducted by Corra asked 2,000 American consumers how they used online reviews both as reviewers and readers–and the results are startling:

More than half of those who took the survey said they would likely complain loudly and publicly if customer service did not “properly” address concerns about a product or service

Nearly 90 percent of respondents have read a negative review online–and then avoided the subject of the review.

While most people who spend their time writing online reviews just want to inform other customers about their experiences, about one out of every eight online reviews is written by someone who hopes to hurt the company’s reputation.

That’s right: Complainers can seriously hurt your company. Most┬ácomplain about bad customer service (52 percent), which is followed by product issues (31 percent) and then policy issues (17 percent).

Your job is to know where people are most likely to write negative reviews, intercept negative customer reviews and begin to stockpile positive reviews.

If this sounds complicated, keep reading to find out how you can do it without spending all of your own time writing reviews.

Where the Wild Words are?

The internet is kind of like the Wild West. Customers can pretty much say and do whatever they want without the fear of consequences.

This is especially true for websites that allow people to post anonymous reviews. Thankfully, the two most popular places for people to post reviews typically require customers to identify themselves, according to Social Media Today.

Amazon and Facebook are the most popular places for angry customers to share their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and put downs.

Yelp, Twitter, Reddit, TripAdvisor and Google Maps aren’t far behind.

Now that you know where people post their wild words about your business, it’s time to find out how to fight back–and it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think.

What You can Do to Win the War of Words?

Winning the online war of words is about immediacy. Negative reviews can spread like wildfire in a matter of moments, thanks to the ability people have to like, share and retweet content with the simple click of a keyboard.

That’s why you have to stay on top of your social media presence–or have a trusted partner do it for you.

Monitoring your online reputation and responding immediately to negative reviews allows you to show you care, put the situation in context and outline action steps before tens, hundreds, thousands or millions of other people see the review.

Also Read

How to Intercept Customers Writing Bad Reviews for Your Business
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How to Intercept Customers Writing Bad Reviews for Your Business
A recent survey shows that complainers can seriously hurt a company and it's online reputation. Here's how businesses can intercept negative customer reviews to avoid reputational loss.
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Ajay Prasad is a serial entrepreneur, a business strategist, and a digital marketing expert with almost three decades of experience. He is the founder and CEO of RepuGen. He has built this innovative online management software from scratch, incorporating multifaceted artificial intelligence (AI) which has allowed for rapid growth, maximum outreach and a 95% user satisfaction rate.