As more and more customers utilize the internet to make purchases, those same customers are looking up information on particular companies before doing business with them. If the customers are lucky, they will stumble upon some customer reviews which will help them make an informed buying decision. As a small business owner, this could delight you or terrify you. If a business is successful and is satisfying its customers, especially a local business, the customers will flock to internet review sites and other social media sites to share their positive experiences. This can result in a myriad of positive exposure and will generate a nice word of mouth buzz. This type of word of mouth buzz always leads to more customers and many local businesses are able to thrive off of this alone. But what happens when a negative review(s) starts to pop up? Every business has dealt with the impossible-to-satisfy client/customer and we've all bent over backwards trying to please them. We let them get away with murder and it still wasn't enough. The relationship ends and guess what happens? This rogue customer decides to post negative reviews about you and your company all over the internet in every medium possible. Your company is screwed. Or is it? Here are a few ways in which you can monitor your online reputation. Do research on your company name Are you an established business? Do a search engine query for your company name and see what results come up. Check out a few of the main internet review websites like Yelp and Yahoo for example. Is it quiet on that front? Are there any kinds of reviews or other user information about your company? This is a great place to start to see what the people are saying about your company, if anything. If necessary, be prepared If you stumble upon negative reviews about your company, read it closely and let it sink in. Was it a problem with your product(s) or service(s)? Was it a customer service issue? Whatever it happens to be, be prepared to change it. Seeing customer reviews point out flaws in your company can be a great way to notice something that was overlooked. But always be prepared to make changes when/if necessary. Respond to negative reviews where applicable On the internet, most social media sites allow users to respond/reply to negative reviews or information. As the business owner, it is in your best interest to respond to a negative review as soon as possible to show the people that you are listening and that you are ready to make the necessary changes so that it does not happen again.