These days everyone is connected, all over the world. Having your business online is an important way to reach out to a global marketplace, but it can also leave your company’s reputation on the line, because anyone can say anything they want on the hundreds of review sites that allow people to comment and rate your business. Hopefully, your business has great customer service, an excellent product, or any of the other criteria that make getting great reviews a breeze, but sometimes a negative comment can sneak in there once and a while; perhaps someone was just having a bad day. Monitoring your business’ reputation has never been more important than now, but should you be closely watching the online reviews?

The answer, simply, is a matter of how much your business can be affected by online reviews. If you are an online business, it is incredibly important to monitor the reviews and effectively change your practices until the problem is fixed. If it is a systemic problem, it might take even longer to fix, but if you are like any responsible business owner, you will do whatever it takes. If you have a product that is faulty, you can take it off the market and refund customers. If you have a restaurant and the service is mediocre, you can conduct better training or hire a more qualified wait staff.

The question then becomes: should you respond to some of these reviews or possibly reach out to the people writing them? This is a decision you need to weigh heavily on. Perhaps there is a way to change that person’s mind by giving them a coupon for your services or product in the hope that they just got up on the wrong side of the bed the day they wrote the negative review. However, you never want to become combative. Be sure to ask constructive criticism that will garner actual results and not more negative commentary.

And if you have been asking yourself this question: do I need online reputation protection? It might be time to rethink your initiatives. If you are becoming inundated with negative results online maybe there is something a little deeper going on with your business practices that you need to think about. Perhaps do some research and see what some of the negative commentary is all about. In this case, monitoring the reviews for your business is important for the sake of the possible survivability of your business.

At the end of the day, monitoring the reviews for your business can only be constructive if you can take those reviews and use them to have better business practices or produce a better quality product. In the world of commerce, the voice of the people is incredibly important. The people making the reviews – whether positive or negative are a small sampling of the voice of your customers. Knowing what their needs and wants are will help your business succeed in the large, competitive, dog eat dog marketplace.