It never ceases to amaze me how many people ask for help with their online reputation, but then are unwilling to change how they do business.  Asking, or demanding, that their reputation be cleaned up.  That those bad reviews out there be “taken care of”.  Never even trying to defend that they’re unjust or untrue, just requesting that they disappear.

Here’s a tip for those of you who think you can mistreat your customers, and then have their complaints erased to prevent the loss of future business: It will catch up with you.

Every business has a moment where they are faced with an unhappy customer.  The true test comes when the business decides how to act upon the complaint.  A good, reputable business will acknowledge their mistake, and do what it takes to make things right with the customer.  A bad business will allow the customer to leave angry, let them rant a while, and then spend a fortune getting the complaints to go away.

A wise expert on reputation management once told me that it costs much less to make an unhappy customer happy, even if they are in the wrong, than it does to defend your actions to the whole Internet.

While it may seem like less work now to let someone walk away angry now than to appease them, it will cost you a lot more in the long run.  Cleaning up bad reviews, turning around peoples’ perceptions of your business, and gaining the trust of new customers is exponentially more costly than making things right with one customer so that they don’t walk away angry.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of your brand’s reputation.

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