Repairing a Business’s Reputation After Negative Reviews, Scandals, and More
Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s most popular motivational speakers, once said about business reputation: “If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they will do business with you."
Your company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. Company reputations can also be easily damaged, especially in a hyper-connected world of online reviews and speedy news cycles. A careless mistake could upset a customer, you could promise something that simply can’t be delivered on time, a hacker could breach security and acquire sensitive information, and the list goes on. Once news gets out, you may be left scrambling to contain the fallout.
Regardless of how your company’s reputation was damaged, remember that in most cases it can be fixed. Use the following framework to repair your company’s image, and then take steps to protect it once the damage is contained.
Assess the damage to your brand by analyzing media coverage
Before going into full damage control mode, you need to understand how badly your business’s reputation was damaged. To get a pulse on the situation, set up Google Alerts for your name, your company’s name, and any other relevant terms.
You’ll automatically receive an email alert whenever your search terms are mentioned online, which makes it easier to analyze how negatively your company is being portrayed. Once you have a better understanding, tailor your approach accordingly.
For example, a small mishap may not require a full-blown reputation management effort if the damage is minor and short-lasting. Other more serious issues, like financial fraud or a data breach, will need a more strategic approach to reputation re-building.
Read online reviews, comments on news articles, and other types of feedback
When your reputation is on the line, you want to know what news stations, blogs, and other media outlets are saying about your brand. However, it’s equally important to monitor what your customers are saying. So, during your initial research, don’t forget to pay attention to their feedback.
When a story has received substantial press coverage, the public is more likely to comment
Social media pages and the company’s customer support inbox are two other places to check for feedback.
Create a recovery plan (and think about the big picture)
Now that you understand the scope of the situation, it’s time to craft a reputation management response.
Based on the nature of your situation, some components of a reputation recovery plan could include:
- Asking satisfied customers to leave positive reviews about their experiences. With enough glowing feedback, you can eventually limit the impact of unsatisfied customers.
- Crafting a public apology, including sharing an outline of the steps the company has taken to fix the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
- Offering unhappy customers a discount or freebie.
- In the event of fraud, firing the fraudster can ease concerns.
Of course, you can’t just ignore all those negative comments. Show disgruntled customers that you care about making things right by responding to their concerns and apologizing when warranted. To learn the best practices for responding, don’t miss this article: Keeping it Positive – Responding to Negative Online Reviews (you’ll even get some helpful hints on dealing with trolls).