As more consumers share information about products and services online, smart companies must monitor a variety websites and social media to respond to issues before they attract attention. When comments are negative, businesses must then make the difficult decision on how to handle false statements. Consider the following scenario before bringing a lawsuit.

Concerned Leader

Someone is making false statements about our business on smackreviews.com.*

Mary Gately

Managing corporate reputations is challenging in an age where consumers can provide feedback on their purchase and have a platform for doing so.

Concerned Leader

We work very hard to make our customers happy. This is truly unfortunate and misleading. I want to seek legal action.

Victoria Bruno

Understandable, but defamation suits are very hard to win and you can’t sue someone for expressing an opinion.

Mary Gately

Furthermore, you might get yourself into a PR nightmare that could do more damage to your reputation than the negative statements that started the whole thing.

Concerned Leader

What should I do to avoid making things worse?

Victoria Bruno

We can help you put it into perspective and plan next steps. What seems significant to you might be ignored or discounted by your social media savvy clients and customers.

Concerned Leader

That’s true. I see negative opinions on my social feeds every day and I think nothing of them.

Mary Gately

Exactly. Also, think of this as an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction by responding to the complaints in a helpful and objective way.

Concerned Leader

What do you mean, Mary?

Mary Gately

Well, one company we worked with received a number of negative comments related to contaminants in their products. But rather than sue the people making the statements, the company tested the products and posted the results on its own website. Whenever these comments resurfaced, the company was able to point out how it was responsive to such concerns and addressed them with concrete answers.

Concerned Leader

What a great response! What else should I consider?

Victoria Bruno

We can help you review the terms and conditions of the site where the statements are being made. You might have some recourse there, especially if the statements are clearly false or coming from a fraudulent account.

Concerned Leader

Great. Anything else I should consider?

Mary Gately

You can request a retraction – and you might be pleasantly surprised. This is a requirement in many states before you bring a defamation suit anyway. Knowing that you are contemplating a suit is enough to motivate some people to retract their statements. But be forewarned, some parties see this as an opportunity to further advance their agenda and embarrass your company by sharing the request in a public forum. We can make sure your request has teeth.

Concerned Leader

So, what if none of these steps work and a defamation suit seems in order?

Mary Gately

I’m happy to discuss the entire process and potential actions you could take.

*smackreviews.com is not a real website.