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Dealing With Negative Word-of-Mouth

At some point, your business may fall victim, warranted or not, to negative word-of-mouth.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's essential you nip the problem in the bud before it leads to devastating results. Here's how to fight back:

The best way to counter negativity is to create positive word-of-mouth. Try to get to the source of the problem and specifically answer the charges.

Negative comments are often spread by discontented customers. Compile your , and see if there's a pattern. Do you have a problem with a particular product or service? Or could a disgruntled employee be the cause? The best way to find out is to ask customers what they think about your .

Finally, plan ahead. Have emergency plans in place in case there is a problem. And if you encourage an open relationship with your customers, you'll likely be able to head off problems before they happen.

Excerpted from Get Smart: 365 Tips To Boost Your Entrepreneurial IQ

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