As any small business owner can tell you, negative word of mouth and bad reviews can kill your business. But finding your name on the Ripoff Report: devastating. The good news is, you can address (and even remove!) a ripoff report. Here are the steps:
Is it True or False?
You will address it differently depending on the answer to this question. Let’s start with what to do if the report is false. Ripoff Report doesn’t want false information on their website, any more than other review sites.
If you know a report is false, follow these steps:
1. Gather all the information you can to prove it is false.
2. Contact Ripoff Report and alert them that it is a false report.
3. Follow their steps to remove the false report. Keep in mind that even if it is an “anonymous” false report, you can insist they tell you the other because it is a false accusation.
4. Consider hiring legal counsel, and possibly PR council (depending on the extent of the damage). Ripoff Report will remove the report while legal proceedings take place.
If you believe a report may be true (or know that it is), follow these steps:
1. Don’t readily admit it. Gather the specifics you can on your end as to what occurred.
2. Look for holes in their posted story. General statements, instead of specifics, can be re-moved.
3. Consider hiring PR council to determine the extent of the damage and best possible containment.
4. If your PR council concurs, consider hiring legal counsel. Even a report that is technically “true,” might have other cause for removal.
5. Draft a reply, at the advice of your counsel. If you can state the specifics of what occurred, but also what you have done to make up the damage and prevent what occurred from hap-pening again, people can respect that. Realistic business partners do not expect that you might be perfect, so long as they can see your customer-centered care.
6. Correct employees, but demonstrate loyalty. Just as you want your customers to be loyal, even if you have made a mistake, show your employees your loyalty even when they make mistakes. Swift, specific, but kind correction can go a long way toward investing in your em-ployees and the future of your business.
When dealing with Ripoff Report, or in a situation of a negative report under any circumstances, it is important to correct the facts, and contain it like an outbreak of an illness. You may suffer like you have the flu, but your business immune system will be stronger for it.