How SMEs Can Succeed in Managing a Reputation Crisis
It takes years of blood and sweat to establish a successful business, yet it can take mere hours to bring it down.
Many businesses have found themselves with unhappy customers which can be a result of any number of reasons. Some might have had an encounter with a rude employee. Others may have received a less than satisfactory product or service.
Whatever the reason, they are left with disgruntled customers who look for a way to express their dissatisfaction. Often, they turn to online platforms where both positive and negative reviews can quickly snowball.
Unfortunately, complaints tend to attract more readers, and before you know it, one negative comment can become an exchange of bad experiences.
As bestselling author Don Winslow says. “A great review is great. A bad review is the worst.” This is especially true when it is left unresolved.
Some businesses employ quick strategies to fix the tainted brand and succeed. However, other businesses fail due to the bad reputation hanging on their brand.
You may have faced a similar situation and now face the big question; how do you reverse this taint on your brand? Are the strategies to deal with this reputation crisis?
Here are a few tips to start your process of reputation management.
How Do You Succeed in Reputation Management?
As an entrepreneur, your business relies on satisfying customers. Even more than customer acquisition, customer retention is the key to a successful marketing plan.
An unhappy customer is unlikely to do business with you again, and worse can influence potential future customers’ perceptions. It is important to mitigate the negative influence and uphold your reputation.
Some strategies work as an effective way to do just that;
Do Not Take Criticism Personally
The rule of thumb is to always separate your personal emotions from your professional crisis. You will need to keep a sober head to help you react quickly. What happened to your business has happened to many other businesses. The only difference is how you deal with negative reviews and whether you come out victorious.
Understand the Root Cause of Negative Reviews
There are some serious and often uncomfortable questions you need to ask yourself, as your team.
What really happened? Were our staff in the wrong? Was the product up-to-par? Is this just a customer overreacting about an issue? Is it a case of miscommunication?
It is important to communicate with your team to assess the damage and get to the bottom of the problem. This is the only way to know how to manage the situation.
Recognise that the Customer is Always Right
In some cases, customers are may overreact without just cause. However, to save a brand’s image, be ready to take the blame.
Be sure to respond in a way that doesn’t compromise on your core values and principle when making an apology.
Make your response public and explain what led to your customers’ dissatisfaction. Stress the fact that it wasn’t your intention and where the business was in the wrong, offer a method of recourse.
Make It up to the Customer
In business, as with everything in life, actions speak louder than words. Go out of your way as a business to make it up to the customer.
This should be done publicly in the same way an apology was made. If the customer in question can accept it publicly it is a plus for the brand.
Not only have you fixed the issue, but you have turned a negative review into a stronger positive review.
Share Positivity and Throw in Some Humour
You can ride out on this problem by sharing positivity. Talk about how the experience has strengthened your business processes. Make use of digital tools to talk about the positive changes that have taken place since the event occurred.
Ensure you do make those changes in the processes. Throw in some humour – no one minds a good laugh
Avert the Effects of a Reputation Crisis
You can use the above strategies to rebuild your reputation, but sometimes that is just not enough. Online word-of-mouth may have been so far-reaching, you will require a professional reputation management service to reverse the negative backlash.
Some reputation crises may be so severe, existing customers may even withdraw from your business.
In such a scenario, it’s best to hire reputation management experts to handle this. They have the tools and manpower to handle such cases, especially online.
Protect Your Brand’s Reputation and Consult the Experts
Via our partners, we have a proprietary system that can gather customer feedback and reviews via an online link that you can send to your clients.
This way you are proactively seeking the customer experience and can use the feedback to continuously improve the internal processes.
We help you build, manage and market customer reviews and help you maintain a 5-star online reputation.
Ensuring that there are recent and relevant positive reviews online gives potential customers the confidence to choose your product or service.
We collate feedback from various directories as well as from your website to ensure you keep track of all reviews and help you act accordingly.
Reach out to us for more information on reputation marketing for your business.