Now that we’ve opened the floodgate to letting customers have their say about businesses, many small biz owners fear that power will kill their businesses. After all, we’ve all read negative Yelp reviews that detoured us away from a restaurant. Who’s to say it couldn’t do the same to your business? But there are good things to come out of bad feedback.

1. It Helps You Improve Your Brand

Consider that many businesses don’t get feedback unless a customer has a truly horrible experience. Because so many customers are fanatic about sharing their experiences (the good, the bad, the mediocre), this is a fabulous opportunity for you to see your company from a third party perspective and take action to improve areas.

Did a review say your potstickers were just so-so? Use it as an opportunity to tweak the recipe. Have you heard multiple complaints about a particular cashier? It’s time to have a talk about customer service.

Reading reviews of your business and being proactive about taking action makes your brand stronger, which will, in turn, start generating positive reviews and bring in more customers.

2. You Can Show You’re Listening

Many a company has ignored online reviews…to its peril. If customers are talking about your brand, for better or worse, and you don’t show that you’re listening, you don’t come off as a very caring company.

On the other hand, if you respond to every piece of feedback you find online, customers will appreciate the effort. Maximize even the bad reviews by responding publicly, apologizing for the bad experience and demonstrate your willingness to amend the situation.

3. A Mixed Bag is Best

If you’ve ever seen a slew of reviews on Yelp or Amazon and they all seem unbelievably positive, you might assume they were planted there by the company and completely rule out the product or store as a result. (This has been known to happen.) Consumers expect some less than perfect reviews; that’s part of the deal. If you have a few negative reviews, but the overall summary of what people are saying about your brand online is positive, it shouldn’t slow sales.

Monitoring online reviews of your brand should be part of your customer service/marketing strategy. Set up a Google Alert for your brand name so that you can find any site where a customer may have complained about (or celebrated) your business. Regularly check in on Amazon or Yelp if you have a company page there, and make sure to respond to any and all feedback. How you react to what’s being said about your brand online will dictate how future customers respond to it.