When it comes to a bad reputation, it will not only cost you money, and in some cases, millions of dollars, but that damage to your reputation can be difficult to undo, which can bring more issues your way as time goes on.

When United Airlines received a bad reputation it cost them close to $180 million, which could easily bankrupt some companies.

So, what did United Airlines do in order to tarnish their reputation, and how did it end up costing them so much money? It all started with David Caroll, a musician, who was boarding a United Airlines flight when he noticed his guitar being slung around in the loading area. After this incident, he tried reaching out to United Airlines to get the compensation he deserved, in order to get his guitar repaired. When he exhausted all lines of communication and still came up short, he decided to write a song about the experience, United Breaks Guitars. This song quickly became a huge hit with over 15 million views on YouTube. The cost of the video was $180; however, United Airlines stock fell ten percent over a number of weeks, shortly after the song hit the media.

No matter the reason the company receives a bad reputation, whether it’s due to bad customer service, corporate scandal, or unhappy employees, keeping the company going and conducting business becomes quite difficult. In many cases, once a company has a bad reputation, it doesn’t only make it harder to gain new customers, but customer retention and shareholder relations can also suffer.

It can be very hard to place an actual amount of money that a bad online reputation can cost you in the long run. A recent study showed that unhappy customers cost US businesses and estimated $537 billion each year. In many cases, those situations could have been prevented with the right reputation management tools.

On the other side of the coin, satisfied clients have been proven to spend 2.6 times the amount than those who were not completely satisfied.

The Influence of Bad Online Reviews

Recently in a Harvard University study using reviews on Yelp.com that reviews by customers can have a huge impact on the revenue a restaurant receives. This study showed that for every restaurant that had a one-star increase in the rating, these restaurants received 5% to 9% increase in the amount of money they were making. This is great news for restaurants that were high rated, but for those earning a bad rating on Yelp, revenue dropped. The researchers at Harvard showed that the revenue that was found between a three star and a five-star rating on Yelp could be up to 18%. If just one of these restaurants that normally receive at least $180,000 per year in revenue, began to start having bad reviews, it could actually show a loss of $180.000 each year in sales.

How to Make your Online Reputation Better

In some cases, the answer to bad reputations may be the responsibility of the corporation. Companies need to prove they care about their community, their customers, and are genuinely working toward creating a difference in their community as well as in the world.

One study found that explained that around 72 percent of individuals thought it was important to work for their boss to place priorities on the company’s responsibilities as well as on environmental issues. In another recent study, 68% of workers believe that all employees should be involved in volunteerism.

How to Solve Reputation Problems

First, you will have to learn where the reputation problem began and then start turning it around. One of the best ways to learn such problems and keep an eye on your online reputation is via online reputation management software such as RepRevive.com.

The most important thing is that you learn where the problem is so that you can start changing the reputation. Are your employees happy? Do you have the right staff? Are your staff friendly and courteous? Have you tried the foods prepared at your restaurant?

Companies should directly respond to the negative outputs. Do not let the critics have their say and you just sit there doing nothing or you will be losing revenue for sure. You have the right to address negative comments on any bad reputations you find online and then figure out the best way to solve the issues whether it is to rid a member of your staff, change the menu a bit, or even talk with stakeholders that might have some answers to help you improve your online reputation.

Satisfied Customers and Clients

As the owner of a company or business or even if you are just the manager, it is important if you notice that a customer seems unhappy, try to resolve the problem before they leave. A good example is at a restaurant; a waiter hears a remark about the food being undercooked. The waiter should let the manager know, so the manager has the opportunity to make it right before this customer leaves the restaurant. If you must give vouchers for the next meal on the restaurant. This will give you positive reviews. If you notice a child is crying and is causing issues with other guests, give the child something to do such as coloring or even give them a few treats that will be acceptable to the parents, of course, no candy: however, a few slices of apples or oranges while the child waits for their food to arrive.

Employee’s Happiness

No one wants to shop in store or eat at a restaurant if the employee that is waiting on them, does not want to be there. Yes, you can actually see this on their face. Work with employees and learn how working conditions could be made better so they would enjoy their job. Provide employees with incentive programs or even better and more enjoyable ways to perform their duties, will certainly help with your reputation especially if customer service is part of the problem.